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Researchers Have Figured out Ways to Dodge Censorship on WeChat

Evading censorship on WeChat in China can be simpler than you might think.

Quartz published a practical write-up of the Citizen Lab’s research on some of the straightforward ways in which Chinese citizens get around censorship on the country’s most popular social network.

The first tip is that text is relatively easy for the platform to scan for censored words. Images are more difficult to for computers to read, making it easier for banned images to slip through filters on WeChat.

Citizen Lab research showed that, at the time, WeChat seemed to use a relatively crude comparison between banned images and content uploaded to the site in order to decide what to block. Quartz included a list of ways in which users modified sensitive images to make them harder to catch, including blurring, rotating, adding borders, or combining multiple smaller images into one file

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Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy | University of Toronto