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The Tiananmen Anniversary is one of the most revered and sensitive political anniversaries in Chinese history. Just three days before the event, Twitter suspended the accounts of popular Chinese political commentators. Initially, no one knew why it had happened. However, Twitter clarified itself and called it an accident. This incident has a stark resemblance to the Silicon Valley mishap.

Yaxue Cao, who is the founder and editor of the publication, China Change, said, “Today, Twitter has suspended many Chinese language accounts. These are quite popular, both inside and outside China.” Cao also showed a number of suspended Twitter accounts in a thread.

Recently, the Chinese government has cracked down on many people who posted criticism on Twitter. The author of the story, Paul Mozur, said that the suspension of these accounts wasn’t just limited to the critics of China. Many Chinese language accounts were also suspended.

This action of Twitter wasn’t just a simple accident. It affected around 100 users during late Friday or early Saturday. It also affected the political activists, college students, nationalists, and human right lawyers. This small mistake created an upsurge among all the Chinese language speakers. They considered it a big insult to them.

These accounts started disappearing just a few days before the 30th Anniversary of the crackdown against student-led procession in Tiananmen Square in Beijing. When the accounts were first banned, many online users assumed the worst possible thing. They considered it as a coordinated effort by Beijing to enforce censorship, so that no one knows what’s happening inside China. Senator Marco Rubio supported this stance and he tweeted about it.

However, the Chinese government had nothing to do with this ban. It was the work of Twitter’s overactive filters. Twitter issued a statement in which it said that it followed its routine in stopping inauthentic behavior and spam. This process had unintentionally considered those Chinese-language accounts as spam and deleted them.

Twitter issued this statement, “The Chinese authorities didn’t report these accounts. It was our mistake. It was a routine action, and our system made an error and deleted those accounts. We apologize for this and we will also make sure that this type of incident doesn’t happen in the future.”

The online users didn’t consider this story foolproof and gave their own theories regarding what had actually happened. A human rights lawyer was quite vocal about it. In his tweet, he posted a picture of the twitter bird with five yellow stars, to show the Chinese flag. Twitter authorities took down his post.

This routine action will have big consequences. First off, it will be the most talked about thing in the June 4 Tiananmen Anniversary. It will also bring censorship to twitter. This clearly shows that tools, which help people connect with the online world, can cause irreparable damage

Twitter has faced many big challenges from within China. At the end of 2018, Chinese authorities started targeting Chinese Twitter users, who were critical of the government. China has blocked Twitter, but many people use private networks to unblock it.

A campaign started in China all across the country by a police division called internet police. They caught the Twitter users and forced them to delete all their tweets and then their accounts too. This movement is still going on.

Twitter has assured people that the suspended accounts will be recovered quickly. However, after a day, some accounts are still suspended.

Cao had this to say, “I don’t think that Twitter is doing a good thing. However, people have mixed opinions about it.”

I think that there is more to this story than we know right now. It seems too big of a coincidence that the Twitter authorities accidentally banned these accounts, just before the Tiananmen Anniversary. Whether it was an accident or not, this incident has caused an uproar in China.