After 59 Chinese apps were blocked by the government, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Weibo account went blank on Wednesday. The PM’s profile photo, posts and comments have been removed from the Twitter-like account, but after some back-and-forth.
Sources said PM Modi decided to delete his account on Monday but the process for deleting VIP accounts on China’s largest microblogging site is complex.
So 115 posts on the Prime Minister’s Weibo account had to be manually deleted.
Weibo does not allow users to delete their accounts; only the platform can do so. As for posts, each has to be opened and manually deleted, which makes it a tedious process.
An official process was initiated, the sources said. “For reasons best known to the Chinese, there was a great delay in granting this basic permission,” they added.
Two posts could still not be deleted because they featured PM Modi’s photos with Chinese President Xi Jinping. The Chinese app cannot delete photos of their President easily, said sources.
The Prime Minister joined Weibo in 2015, just before a visit to China, and had a verified account with 2,44,000 followers. He used the account to wish Xi Jinping on his birthday on June 15 but this year, gave it a miss after the worst escalation of hostilities at the border. 20 Indian soldiers were killed in action in a deadly clash with Chinese troops at the Galwan river valley in Ladakh.
TikTok, WeChat, UC Browser and CamScanner are among the Chinese apps that were blocked by the government on Monday on grounds that they are “prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of state and public order”.
The Ministry of Information Technology said it had received many complaints from various sources of data breach and also cited reports about misuse of some mobile apps available on “Android and iOS platforms for stealing and surreptitiously transmitting users” data in an unauthorized manner to servers which have locations outside India.
TikTok India says it is in the process of complying with the government’s order and asserted that it had not shared information of Indian users with any foreign government, including that of China.