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Feb 01

Chinese government enlists Facebook to censor news about coronavirus

The Chinese government is losing control of the narrative regarding the coronavirus. Nearly 12,000 people have been infected by the virus in China, and tourism to China has dropped considerably. Numerous stores and offices in China have closed and some airports have implemented quarantines of travelers.

Now the Chinese government (and, it seems, other governments) have pressured Facebook to censor the spread of non-government-approved information about the virus.

Of particular concern to the Chinese government are reports that the virus originated in Chinese government labs or biological warfare experiments.

Information in China is tightly controlled, and Chinese laws dictate that rumor-mongers can face years in prison. In the early days of the outbreak, Chinese state media reported that police in Wuhan had detained eight people for spreading rumors about a “local outbreak of unidentifiable pneumonia.”