All major Western social media apps have been banned in China for over a decade.

But the Great Wall of China, ostensibly implemented to protect national interests, was not as effective as Beijing hoped.

Many Chinese are still active on platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

The biggest impact of the ban is to give China’s own social media platforms such as TikTok (known as Douyin in China) and WeChat a competitive advantage.

Currently, it is Western countries such as Australia that are weighing what to do with Chinese social media apps, amid concerns that the personal data they collect could be accessed by Beijing.

So how should the federal government deal with technology associated with authoritarian states such as China?

Should Australia follow China’s lead and ban them outright?

become a technological powerhouse

Meeting between Trump and Xi Jinping
Donald Trump tried to ban TikTok and WeChat in the US.(AP: Susan Walsh, File)

Beijing’s ban on Western apps has given domestic tech platforms exclusive access to one billion Chinese internet users.

Since taking office in 2012, President Xi Jinping has taken a keen interest in expanding China’s ambitions to become a “cyber superpower.”

Xi not only stepped up online censorship, but also launched the World Internet Conference to promote cybersecurity and development.

The president’s backing sparked an overnight boom in tech platforms as hundreds of billions of dollars of Chinese capital poured into thousands of startups, setting the stage for the rapid growth of apps like TikTok and WeChat.


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