Tuesday, 5 August 2008

Yahoo boo boo with creepy Chinese Olympic mascots

Web giant Yahoo! says an "automated boo-boo" resulted a celebratory photo of Beijing's fluffy Olympic mascots being displayed below the headline "Tiananmen Square Massacre Remembered" on its website.

A picture of the five creepy Beijing mascots standing in Tiananmen Square waiting to welcome visitors to the Olympics was "automatically added" to a slideshow added by Yahoo, following memorial services on the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre.

The photo appeared under the headline on Yahoo's news site for over 24 hours before the company was alerted to the faux pax.

Yahoo's bad taste news page was apparently even accessible from Beijing which is an achievement in itself. The restrictive communist Government of China blocks a lot of international web content, through filters known by many as the 'Great Firewall of China'.
The Chinese authorities (who aren't big fans of "free speech" or basic human rights) have blocked access to some websites at the main press centre, used by accredited foreign journalists in Beijing.

The move by the Chinese state comes despite earlier promises by the International Olympic Committee of unrestricted media access during the games.

Some of those restrictions have since been lifted, following strong criticism by Olympic officials, journalists, and Western political leaders. However many "politically sensitive sites" remain inaccessible in the City of Smog.

Meanwhile the Chinese Government has forced foreign-owned hotels to install state-sanctioned software to spy on internet use by hotel guests during the Olympics. Hotels says China's Public Security Bureau has ordered them to install the internet monitoring equipment, or face "severe retaliation".

* NZ Herald: Tanks for the memories - Yahoo's big Tiananmen mistake
* NZ Herald: Hotels forced to install internet spyware

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