Trolls get creative after WHO allegedly censors Taiwan

Alleged censorship of Taiwan on the World Health Organization’s Facebook page inspired some creative trolling Thursday, with special characters and foreign scripts called up to bypass the block — which mysteriously also censored Winnie the Pooh, sometimes said to look like Xi Jinping.

The deluge came after Taiwan politicians and social media users shared screenshots showing messages containing “Taiwan” or “Taiwan can help” failing to upload underneath a banner advertising a WHO live-streaming Q&A event on the coronavirus.

Taiwan has previously accused the global health body of prioritising politics over health, saying Chinese “obstruction” had prevented it from attending a key meeting focused on the coronavirus.

The self-ruled island of 23 million has seen remarkable success in combating the pandemic, with only seven deaths and fewer than 600 confirmed cases. 

But it is frozen out of the WHO by Beijing, which regards Taiwan as its own territory and has vowed to take it by force if necessary.

Social media users in Taiwan used extra characters to get around the block, and to proclaim that “Taiw@n can help!” the global health body combat the virus.

In Hong Kong — also increasingly in the shadow of authoritarian Beijing — others posted “Taiwan” in the Vietnamese script that is similar to the Roman alphabet. 

Others complained they were unable to share the words “Winnie the Pooh” — A.A. Milne’s self-described “bear of very little brain”, who has been used in the past to poke fun at China’s President Xi Jinping on social media.

Images of the bear, however, slipped through the firewall.

“Acting like authoritarian governments, @WHO is now actively making efforts to silence dissent,” tweeted lawmaker Wang Ting-yu of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party. 

Foreign minister Joseph Wu said Taiwan had lodged a protest with the WHO to express “strong dissatisfaction and regret”. 

“It censors (posts) to such an extent… WHO is corrupt and tries to silence netizens,” a Taiwanese social media user said. 

Between 2009 and 2016 Beijing allowed Taiwan to attend the WHO’s annual top meeting as an observer under the name “Chinese Taipei”.

But it has been blocked from participating since the 2016 election of President Tsai Ing-wen, who has refused to acknowledge Beijing’s stance that Taiwan is part of “One China”.

The WHO and Facebook did not immediately respond to AFP’s request for comment.


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Anthony Seibold, social media trolls, Brisbane Broncos, 60 Minutes

Former Brisbane Broncos coach Anthony Seibold has opened up on the devastating toll social media trolls took on him and his family.

After he was named Dally M Coach of the Year in 2018, Seibold was one of the most exciting figures in the NRL, and moved north to Red Hill on a five-year contract.

Brisbane qualified for the final series in the 2019 premiership, but everything went downhill for the club from there on.

Following an embarrassing 58-0 defeat to the Parramatta Eels, the Broncos could only muster three victories in the 2020 regular season, and the powerhouse club were awarded their first wooden spoon.

After months of criticism and media speculation, Seibold was forced to step down as the club’s coach in August.

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The 46-year-old was also subjected to salacious rumours during his final months with the Broncos, which were generated and distributed by internet trolls on social media sites.

Seibold was forced to contact police and hire cybercrime investigators in the hope of exposing the culprits who fabricated the “disgusting” rumours.

Speaking on Channel 9’s 60 Minutes, Seibold revealed the damaging impact the ordeal had on himself and his loved ones.

“It’s been hurtful to myself. It’s been hurtful to others. It’s been hurtful to people close to me,” Seibold said.

“It’s been pretty tough, particularly the last couple of months. In some ways it’s like the Wild West out there.

“My situation went viral on social media … my reputation was ruined in a lot of respects.

“The very last message on social media was the one that probably upset me the most, because it spoke about my daughter.

“It was hard for everyone to see those messages … they obviously want to hurt myself and the others who were named in some way, shape or form.

“I went through some pretty dark times a few weeks back, because the amount of hate and defamatory comments that was spread. And people were happy to spread. It was crazy really. And that’s not the Australia that I grew up in.”

Two weeks before he stepped down from his role at Red Hill, Seibold intentionally broke the NRL’s strict biosecurity by leaving the club’s bubble to attend to a serious family matter.

After it became public Seibold was launching an investigation, the alleged online trolls quickly erased their digital profiles.

“80 per cent of the messages that were on social media platforms came down straight away. It obviously put a bit of a scare across a lot of the people who were sharing the different messages,” Seibold said.

“They’re pretty weak.

“I’ve got quite a few names … so I’d like to see some people made accountable, that’s for sure.”

Seibold made the explosive claim one of the internet trolls is a high-profile figure in the sport, but for legal reasons is not able to unveil their identity.

“There’s someone who makes a living from our game, who is part of this conversation. Who’s added to the rumours, who’s then forwarded on through messages on social media platforms. On Facebook, this particular person has got some very high profile friends from within our game,” Seibold said.

“It’s ironic, I mean, these people have had a free for all calling you whatever they want online with no repercussions, and yet if you name them, you’d be the one that cops the punishment.

“That’s what so ironic about all of this. I can’t sit here and tell you these names because you know essentially 60 Minutes could be charged.”

Although social media is undeniably a valuable resource, the damaging impact of internet trolls seemingly increases every year, but current laws prevent police from taking meaningful action.

Seibold hopes to see greater action taken to ensure those who misuse the online platforms are made accountable for their actions.

“It’s vicious. It’s disgusting. As I said, there’s no accountability that I can see in and around the social media platforms,” Seibold said.

“If going forward there is some legislation change and there is some further accountability in and around using identification to social media accounts, then I think that’s a fantastic legacy to leave.”

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Erin Molan breaks down in interview, social media trolls, Anthony Seibold, 60 Minutes

Nine sports presenter Erin Molan has broken down in tears as she discusses her battle with online trolls.

Comments made on 2GB earlier in the year thrust Molan into the spotlight and saw her become public enemy number one on social media.

During an on-air conversation about player names with The Continuous Call co-hosts Darryl Brohman and Mark Levy, Molan said: “hooka looka mooka hooka fooka”.

Molan’s comments quickly drew widespread backlash among the NRL community with past and present players lashing her for appearing to mock Pacific Islander names.

But Molan has hit back, with it being announced this week she is suing Daily Mail Australia over a story she claims painted her as “racist” and an “arrogant white woman of privilege”.

In a preview clip of an upcoming interview with Channel 9’s 60 Minutes, the star of the Nine network addresses the severe backlash she faced over the comments and how the time for action is now.

“The time to prosecute trolls is here,” Molan says.

“You’re not big, you’re not tough. You’re scum of the earth.”

She added: “It really hurts you, you go to some pretty dark places.

“Every single Australian should be terrified about what is happening online at the moment.”

RELATED: Molan sues: Story painted me as ‘racist’

RELATED: Toothless response to vile rumours mocked

The barrage of abuse on all channels of social media piled up for Molan, but even after reporting them the networks refused to step in.

“I’ve reported these messages to Facebook, their response was that they were not considered offensive,” she says.

“They are not doing their best, not even close.”

Along with Molan, former Brisbane Broncos coach Anthony Seibold opens up on the vitriol that was directed his way.

Seibold became the target of an ugly smear campaign that saw him lodge an official complaint with police to bring charges upon the people responsible for spreading vile rumours about him.

The ugly campaign ended with Seibold stepping away from his role as the coach of the Broncos and he says it ruined his reputation.

“My situation went viral on social media, defamatory comments, my reputation was ruined in a lot of respects,” he tells Steinfort.

“The very last message on social media was the one that probably upset me the most, because it spoke about my daughter.”

The full interview with Erin Molan and Anthony Seibold will air this Sunday on 60 Minutes.

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NRL 2020: Anthony Seibold, Brisbane Broncos, news, trolls, smear campaign,

Former Broncos coach Anthony Seibold is enjoying his a well-earned break in the aftermath of his ugly departure from Red Hill, but says the “really challenging” events of recent months “hasn’t hurt my appetite to coach.”

And he’s spoken out about his reaction to the vicious social media smear campaign to which he was recently subjected, declaring his hope for legislative change to stop similar abuse in the future.

Seibold told Triple M radio he was feeling “pretty good” after leaving the Brisbane club last week, having spent a week “mustering” and “getting back to basics” in a friend’s property in central Queensland.

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Round 17

Storm too tough for Bunnies


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South Sydney stars condemn online trolls

South Sydney five-eighth Cody Walker and fellow teammates have condemned the online trolls who have harassed former coach Anthony Seibold, declaring they would happily set up a campaign to educate people about the perils of the internet.

Seibold has dominated the headlines in the past fortnight after it emerged he had been a victim of vicious online rumours.

The Brisbane coach has launched an offshore cybersecurity probe into what is understood to be an orchestrated campaign from people with NRL connections to have him sacked.

Walker built a close rapport with Seibold during his time as head coach at Souths in 2018, so he feels sorry for his ex-coach.

The Rabbitohs playmaker is even prepared to put his face to a public educational program about the repercussions of spreading and passing on incorrect or private information.

“I’d be open to a campaign of that sort,” Walker said.

“It is pretty important.

“We’ve seen over the last couple of years how much racism and everything like that happens in our game with trolls.

“So, I’d certainly put my hand up and be open to a campaign of some sort for education.”

Walker believes the players’ loved ones being unfairly involved is the most concerning aspect of online trolls.

“It is quite disappointing that the families get brought into this sort of stuff,” he said.

“We have got innocent kids being involved that have no bearing on what we do as players.”

Rabbitohs prop Thomas Burgess would also like to see the online perpetrators called out and punished.

“It needs to be sorted out and someone has to be held accountable because it happens too often,” Burgess said.

“It has got a bit out of hand – Seibs doesn’t deserve that.

“I still count him as a mate of mine. I haven’t reached out to him, but I think what has happened to him isn’t right.”

Souths lock Cameron Murray expects Seibold to bounce back from the unsavoury online attacks.

“The professional that I saw he was, I have no doubt that he will get through it, and he will come out a better coach and person,” Murray said.

“It is unfortunate and I feel sorry for Seibs.

“It is obvious that he has gone through a really difficult time, and he is copping a bit from the outside.

“I just hope Seibs is OK mentally, and I hope he is looking after himself and he has got good people around him.”

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