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How should Australia engage with technology from authoritarian countries like China? | #socialmedia | #hacking | #aihp


All the major Western social media apps have been banned in China for more than a decade.

But the “Great Firewall of China” – ostensibly implemented to protect the national interest – has not been as effective as Beijing expected.

Many Chinese people are still active on the platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. 

The ban’s greatest impact has been to give China’s homegrown social media platforms like TikTok (known in China as Douyin) and WeChat a competitive advantage.  

Now it is Western countries such as Australia who are considering what to do with China’s social media apps, amid concerns personal data they collect could be accessed by Beijing. 

So how should the federal government deal with technology linked to authoritarian countries such as China?

Should Australia follow China’s lead and ban them completely?

Becoming a tech powerhouse

Donald Trump tried to have TikTok and WeChat banned in the US.(AP: Susan Walsh, File)

Beijing’s ban on Western apps gave China’s domestic tech platforms exclusive access to a billion Chinese internet users.

Since President Xi Jinping took office in 2012, he has taken a keen interest in expanding China’s ambition to become a “cyber superpower”.

Xi not only tightened up online censorship but also initiated the World Internet Conference to boost cyber security and development.

The President’s support triggered an overnight boom of technology platforms as hundreds of billions of dollars of Chinese capital flooded into thousands of emerging firms, setting the stage for the rapid growth of apps such as TikTok and WeChat.

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