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Farewell, Air Moving Device, we hardly knew ye

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Air Moving Device is a Twitter account that has posted, for the last year or so, interesting results from applying artificial intelligence to publicly available data about Chinese officials.

Examples include this thread (archived by Google Cache) about Chinese government officials and their plagiarized post-graduate degree theses, and most recently, the results of applying facial recognition software to delegates arriving at the Two Sessions, the annual political meetup of China’s National People’s Congress (click on link above and scroll down to see).

On March 5 at around 11 p.m. Beijing time, Air Moving Device tweeted:

I will be deleting all of my tweets and will no longer be tweeting or responding to DMs. All of my tweets were entirely based on my personal analysis using publicly available data, and did not involve other individuals. It is not my intention to subvert state or Party authority.

Why? Here is a January 10 tweet from New York Times tech correspondent Paul Mozur that explains:

China is in the midst of one of the nastiest social media crackdowns I can recall. Over the past few months 100s — maybe 1,000s — have been called in by police for the crime of being on Twitter and expressing opinions about China.

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Jeremy Goldkorn

Jeremy Goldkorn worked in China for 20 years as an editor and entrepreneur. He is editor-in-chief of SupChina, and co-founder of the Sinica Podcast.

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