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Twitter tender apologizes to china over account crackdown

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Source: Reuters

Twitter Inc has apologized for suspending accounts critical of Chinese government policy days ahead of the 30th anniversary of a bloody crackdown on protesters at Beijing’s Tiananmen Square, after an outcry among users.

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In a statement posted to the company’s Public Policy Twitter feed on Saturday, Twitter said “a number of accounts” had been suspended as part of efforts to target accounts engaging in “platform manipulation”.

“Some of these were involved in commentary about China. These accounts were not mass reported by the Chinese authorities – this was a routine action on our part,” the company said.

Such actions sometimes “catch false positives or we make errors,” it added. Twitter said it was working to “ensure we overturn any errors”.

Twitter’s statement follows a sharp reaction from its users over the suspensions, including U.S. Senator Marco Rubio, who in a tweet accused Twitter of becoming “a Chinese (government) censor”.

The approach of the 30th anniversary of the bloody June 4 crackdown on pro-democracy protests at Tiananmen Square has been accompanied in China by a tightening of censorship. Tools to detect and block content related to the 1989 crackdown have reached unprecedented levels of accuracy.


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24 Hours Across Africa

Tunisia: former President Ben Ali confirmed dead

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All time, former Tunisia’s President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali has died in exile aged 83, his family says.

Ben Ali led the country for 30years and was credited with delivering stability and some economic prosperity.

But he received widespread criticism for suppressing political freedoms and for widespread corruption.

In 2011, he was forced from office following mass street protests. This triggered a wave of similar uprisings across the Arab world.

At least half a dozen countries in the region saw their president fall or conflicts break out in the wake of the former Tunisian leader’s downfall, in what became known as the Arab Spring.

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24 Hours Across Africa

Gantz refuse’s Netanyahu offer on unity government

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After a vote tally showing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tied with his main rival.

Israel’s weakened Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu saw his offer on Thursday for a coalition with his strongest political rival,  Gantz, swiftly rebuffed after failing to secure a governing majority in a tight election.

Netanyahu’s surprise move was an abrupt change of strategy for the right-wing leader. Its rejection could spell weeks of wrangling after Tuesday’s election, which followed an inconclusive national ballot in April.

Gantz’s centrist Blue and White party emerged from the second round of voting this year slightly ahead of Netanyahu’s Likud, but also short of enough supporters in the 120-member parliament for a ruling bloc.

Netanyahu, Israel’s longest-serving leader, said in a video clip in which he urged Gantz, the country’s former military chief, to meet him “as soon as today”, that he had pledged during the election campaign to form a right-wing, Likud-led government.

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