No more ‘secrets’ in Hong Kong? Facebook pages for anonymous rants, comments shut following national security law arrests
 

No more ‘secrets’ in Hong Kong? Facebook pages for anonymous rants, comments shut following national security law arrests

08/2022

Several Hong Kong community “confession pages” have disappeared from Facebook following Tuesday’s arrest of two administrators of the Civil Servant Secrets page on the social media platform.

Francis Lee Lap-fung, a professor at CUHK’s School of Journalism and Communications, said the arrests signalled the risk to page administrators and some had chosen to shut their pages regardless of whether they carried political content.

He said: “It’s hard for the administrators to exercise control as they don’t produce the content, so how do they choose between submissions? It’s just a hobby for them and they can’t earn money from it, so when the arrests happened, they could have felt it was better to avoid trouble and shut their pages.”

“Many posts did not criticise the government at all and some even expressed support for a government decision,” he said.

The closure of “secrets” pages only strengthened the trend of self-censorship among Hongkongers on public platforms, Lee said.

“Just because there are no channels for people to vent doesn’t mean the discontent has disappeared, but if there are no ways to find out about these grievances, the government will not be able to address them,” he added.

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