Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s WeChat profile was “sold” to Chinese businessmen after it was revealed that the Australian leader’s social media team had lost control of his account earlier this month.
According to The Daily Telegraph, the name of the account has changed from “Scott Morrison” to “Australian Lunar New Year”. The Epoch Times searched WeChat for an account named “Scott Morrison” with no results.
The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) has discovered that the CEO of information technology company Huang Aipeng has purchased the Prime Minister’s account from a Chinese citizen known only as Mr. Ji.
Ji was part of the agency that the Prime Minister’s Office hired to run a WeChat account. This is a common practice among politicians and organizations enthusiastic about communicating with Chinese or foreign Chinese-speaking communities (Australia has about 1.2 million Chinese).
However, WeChat restricts the use of public accounts on the platform to Chinese citizens only, so overseas groups must rely on contracted third parties or agents.
According to Fuzhou 985 Information Technology Leader Huang, he bought an account for Prime Minister Morrison because he had more than 76,000 followers.
“he [Mr Ji] He didn’t tell me who was using the account, “Huang told ABC.
“I don’t even know who [Scott] Morrison; I bought it because my account has a lot of followers. “
Huang has revealed that the prime minister’s team will remove previously posted content and promote his own material.
According to a statement obtained by AAP, WeChat’s parent company, Tencent, has denied any “hacking or third-party intrusion” that occurred with respect to the Prime Minister’s account.
“According to our information, this seems to be a controversy over account ownership. The account in question was originally registered by an individual in China (People’s Republic of China) and then transferred to its current operator, a technology services company. It will be processed according to the rules of the platform. “
“Tencent is committed to maintaining the integrity of the platform and the security of all user accounts and will continue to investigate this issue.”
Liberal Parliamentarians have stood behind WeChat’s boycott in response to the Prime Minister’s deplatforming.
Gladys Liu, a member of Chisam, a multicultural voter in eastern Melbourne, called the incident with Morrison “extremely disappointed” and said it raised concerns about political interference.
“It’s a matter of record that the platform has stopped the Prime Minister’s access, but the account of (opposition leader) Anthony Albanese is still active, featuring posts that criticize the government,” she said. Press release January 24th.
“This kind of interference with our political process is unacceptable, especially in the year of elections. This issue should be taken very seriously by all Australian politicians.
“Because of these concerns, we won’t communicate using an official or personal WeChat account until the platform explains,” she said.
Albanese said earlier that day to 2GB welcomed discussions with the Prime Minister on this issue.
“I’m certainly really concerned about the impact of government intervention in the process on national security, but note that I haven’t heard anything from the Prime Minister himself on these issues,” he said. ..
Finance Minister Simon Birmingham urged Australians to reconsider their use of WeChat.
“The political distortions of this kind of communication platform … are clearly blameable and show that WeChat as a communication platform is unreliable,” he said. Sky news australia..