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    China's 'Great Firewall' Has Around 10 Million Users Tweeting on the Low

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    Despite the heavy monitoring of cyberspace behind the Great Firewall, 10 million Twitter users manage to tweet from China.

    Officially, Twitter is banned in China; however, that hasn't stopped people from using the service locally. The company has estimated that it has nearly 10 million Chinese users, an inside source told Tech Crunch technology website. It represents a small share of Twitter's 310 million total active users, of which 65 million are based in the US. In contrast, China has about 688 million Internet users which is about 50% of the country's population.

    "That number itself is an estimate, one that is used internally because even Twitter isn't fully sure. That's because it is hugely challenging to tally up China-based users by virtue of them connecting to the service via virtual private network (VPN) software which allows them to use an internet connection outside of China, thus bypassing the country's web censorship system," a media report said on Wednesday.

    Chinese ‘netizens' accessing Twitter on a VPN will show up as being located in the US, Britain, Singapore or wherever else their VPN is set to. Those who do not have access to VPNs instead use Weibo and WeChat as alternative local microblogging sites.

    China blocked Twitter, Facebook, Flickr and Hotmail in 2009. Most Chinese Internet users rely on domestic services, which are tightly controlled. It is highly unlikely that Twitter will take the steps to get it unblocked in China because it would mean caving in to censorship demands and self-policing user content, the report noted.

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