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China accused of interference as Australia PM’s WeChat account vanishes

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Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison opened his WeChat account in 2019 ahead of Australian elections that year


Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison opened his WeChat account in 2019 ahead of Australian elections that year – Copyright NO BYELINE/AFP STRINGER

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s WeChat account has disappeared, prompting accusations of Chinese “interference” from senior members of his government Monday.

Morrison’s account on the Chinese social media app, which was launched in February 2019, appears to have been replaced with one titled “Australian Chinese new life.”

WeChat is the overwhelmingly dominant messaging and social media platform in China, where Western services such as WhatsApp, Facebook and Twitter are blocked.

There was no immediate comment from Morrison but a senator from his ruling centre-right Liberal Party accused Beijing of being behind the change.

“What the Chinese government has done by shutting down the prime minister’s account is effectively foreign interference in our democracy,” James Paterson told 2GB radio on Monday.

Paterson called on Australian politicians to boycott WeChat in response.

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According to the account’s about page, the “Australian Chinese new life” name was registered on October 28, 2021.

But the account has posts dating back to February 1, 2019, including Morrison’s first, which reads: “I’m very happy to open my official WeChat account”.

AFP has contacted WeChat’s parent company Tencent for comment.

Morrison first launched his WeChat account to communicate with Australia’s sizable Chinese-Australian community ahead of elections in 2019.

That year, Morrison was asked by reporters whether there was a risk his account could be censored by the Chinese Communist Party.

“We haven’t experienced any such censorship,” he said.

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In December 2020, WeChat removed a post from Morrison that defended Australia’s investigation into allegations of war crimes perpetrated by Australian soldiers.

The post also criticised Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian, who had tweeted a fake image of an Australian soldier holding a knife.

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The last post on the “Australian Chinese new life” account is from July 9, 2021.

The Daily Telegraph reported Morrison has been locked out of his account since then.

All of the posts on the “Australian Chinese new life” account relate to Australian government announcements or messages from Morrison.



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LinkedIn Updates Professional Community Policies to Better Reflect What’s Not Allowed in the App

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LinkedIn Updates Professional Community Policies to Better Reflect What's Not Allowed in the App

LinkedIn has announced an update to its Professional Community Policies, which dictate what’s allowed, and what’s not, within your various LinkedIn communications.

The updated policies aim to provide more insight into specific elements of in-app engagement – because people, especially women, are sick of LinkedIn being used as a hook-up site by overeager users who like the looks of their profile image.

That’s not the only reason, but definitely, reports of harassment via LinkedIn’s InMail have been rising.

As explained by LinkedIn:

“As part of our updated policies, we’re publishing a set of expanded resources for members to better understand our policies and how we apply them, including detailed examples of content that isn’t allowed and how we handle account restrictions. While harassment, hate speech, and other abusive content has never been allowed on LinkedIn, we’ve added what types of comments and behaviors go against our Professional Community Policies.”

In this updated format, LinkedIn’s new policy overview includes specific sections outlining what’s not allowed in the app, with links that you can click on for more information.

Follow the links and you’ll be taken to the relevant LinkedIn Help article on that topic, which also includes a section that shares more specific explainers on what’s not allowed in the app.

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LinkedIn policies

The aim is to provide more direct insight into what you can’t do in the app, and with engagement continuing to rise across LinkedIn, it makes sense that, logically, LinkedIn is also going to see more interactions that violate these terms.

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And as noted, women are disproportionately targeted by such activity.

A report by CTV Canada last year found that many female LinkedIn users regularly receive inappropriate messages from men, who’ll often reach out to tell women that they find them attractive. Fast Company reported in 2020 that posts from female users are often targeted with ‘derision, marginalization and even outright hate’, despite LinkedIn being a lass anonymous platform than others, while many other women have reported similar advances or attacks by users in the app.

LinkedIn does have a specific policy against ‘sexual innuendos and unwanted advances’, which now also includes more examples of what’s not allowed.

LinkedIn Community Policies

But the fact that this is even necessary is a little disconcerting – and really, this does seem to be the main focus of this new update, providing more context around what you can’t do in the app, which is really an expansion of general workplace etiquette and ethics.

It seems like that should be a given, and that all users should be able to engage in a professional manner, but of course, as with any widely used platform, there will always be some that push the boundaries, and break the rules, especially if those regulations are unclear.

Which is what LinkedIn’s seeking to clarify, and hopefully, this new format will make it easier for people to understand what they can and can’t do in the app.

You can check out LinkedIn’s updated Professional Community Policies here.

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