Photos of the Hong Kong protests are being censored on popular Chinese messaging service WeChat, according to a report released Thursday.
Hong-Kong-based newspaper the South China Morning Post claimed that photos of the protests posted on WeChat are being censored, citing reports from Hong Kong-based users that their contacts on the Chinese mainland were unable to view photos that they had posted.. The SCMP report followed claims by a mobile security company saying that hackers have also targeted Hong Kong protesters by using spyware to infiltrate their smartphones.
— Cam MacMurchy (@zhongnanhai) October 1, 2014
According to SCMP, a Hong Kong-based blogger named Cam MacMurchy had shared an image of the protests on WeChat on Sept. 30, which was not visible to one of his friends in Beijing. The friend also told MacMurchy that none of images he had posted on the platform since Sept. 28 were visible.
Meanwhile, some citizens from mainland China who live in Hong Kong have told SCMP that a few images of the protests that they had uploaded to WeChat are still visible to others.
Given the fact that WeChat is not censored in Hong Kong, unlike mainland China, the alleged censorship in question could affect the service’s user base in the city, the SCMP report said.
In addition to the WeChat controversy, the Hong Kong protesters have also been targeted by China’s cyber spies with malicious software designed to break into their iPhones and Android devices, according to Israel-based Lacoon Mobile Security, which added that the iPhone users, who have not bypassed Apple’s security to “jailbreak” their devices to run unauthorized apps, should be safe.
“Cross-platform attacks that target both iOS and Android devices are rare, and indicate that this may be conducted by a very large organization or nation state,” Lacoon researchers wrote in a blog post on Tuesday. “The fact that this attack is being used against protesters and is being executed by Chinese-speaking attackers suggests it’s linked to Chinese government cyber activity.”