TikTok deserves praise for preventing cyber terrorism

By Ai Jun Source:Global Times Published: 2019/10/23 22:43:40

Photo: IC

Popular Chinese social media app TikTok recently removed about two dozen IS-related accounts after they were found posting terrorist propaganda and recruitment videos, the Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday. It mirrors China's resolve to counter terrorism on the internet and the urgency to boost internet management amid the rise of social media.  

Ironically, TikTok was blasted by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg not long ago. During his speech on October 17 at Georgetown University on free speech, Zuckerberg slammed the recent social media craze that has been sweeping the world for its alleged strict censorship, arguing that censoring content runs counter to the open spirit of the internet. 

Zuckerberg's hollow accusation against TikTok follows the same pattern of quite a few mainstream Western media, which are portraying China's regulation on social media as an iron grip on freedom. 

Social media giants, including Facebook and Twitter, have become the main tools for extremist forces' recruitment and propaganda over the past years. The most sensational example lately may be the mass shooting at a mosque in New Zealand on March 15, which was livestreamed on Facebook, and later widely spread on Twitter, YouTube and other internet platforms. 

The boundaries between freedom of speech and public security have often been a focus of debate when it comes to social governance. While Westerners are caught in an endless debate about it, they are letting terrorists sneak in.

Facebook is also accused of instigating political polarization. Brittany Kaiser, a former director for British political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica, said on Tuesday that "Facebook is actually the biggest threat to our democracy," because "Zuckerberg decided that Facebook is not going to censor politicians that are spreading disinformation, weaponizing racial hatred."

Internet management does not mean a loss of freedom. On the contrary, certain limits can ensure that everyone can enjoy freedom, not just a few. This is the logic of China's management of the internet which has proven to be efficient so far. Thanks to a crackdown on internet terrorism, the spread of radical religious thought in China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region has been placed under control, while people there can enjoy a secure life rather than being terrified over potential terror attacks. Minors in China are protected from being influenced by cyber violence. China has also been calling on international cooperation in this regard, including promoting the Shanghai Cooperation Organization's drills against cyber terrorism.  

Everyone can sound noble talking about democracy and freedom, yet when potential risks are lurking, cracking down on security threats is apparently more significant. 

This is why China will not change its course on internet management, especially against cyber terrorism. China is exploring how to maintain a free and healthy internet environment. But it also knows management is for the security of the country, the people, and better development. 

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