When it comes to censorship and China, we shouldn’t be surprised at the country’s practices by now. In the past, they have censored words and phrases on social media platforms that might be deemed as negative towards the government, and now it looks like they’re doing the same with the coronavirus.
According to a report from The Citizen Lab, WeChat seems to be censoring messages that are related to the coronavirus. This includes messages that might be seen as critical towards the government, as well as neutral messages that are just informative.
It also looks like it censors messages that make reference to Dr. Li Wenliang (the Chinese doctor that tried to warn about the virus early on), as well as messages related to how the Chinese government is handling the situation. The image above shows screenshots of how messages are being sent through WeChat, but do not get delivered to the recipient.
It’s not surprising that WeChat is censoring these messages since they are a Chinese company and are one of China’s largest messaging platforms, so they need to comply with Chinese government regulations. We don’t know if these censored messages only apply to those who are using the app in China, or to all WeChat users around the world.