Lowy Institute
  • Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and why the unmediated photo is the message.
  • The new Hillary Clinton app has taken a page out of Kim Kardashian's mobile app playbook.
  • The Australian Army, which has taken a leading role in the ADF's digital diplomacy efforts, has a new podcast. Hosted by @sharonmascall, the podcast takes a behind the scenes look at Exercise Hamel (#ExHamel), the Army's largest annual joint exercise.
  • Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are both using Pokémon Go to lure in voters.
  • Australia's Antartica Division is building a fantastic Twitter presence via  @AusAntarctic; use #icytweets to quiz them on drones, droids and robots.
  • Who owns your country's Twitter handle?
  • The White House has a launched a Facebook bot so that anyone around the world can 'send their stories, ideas and concerns' to President Obama. The White House's Chief Digital Officer explains how it works.
  • Is Sri Lanka ready to engage with networked diplomacy?
  • A refreshingly frank outline  from Australia's Department of Prime Minister & Cabinet (PM&C) on their short and sharp digital journey (three years ago PM&C had no communications branch, and then-Prime Minister Tony Abbott saw social media as electronic graffiti). 
  • With help from Facebook, the Indian Government has launched an app which streamlines engagement with its citizens overseas by bringing together the social media presence of its 170+ overseas missions.
  • ABC Managing Director Michelle Guthrie spoke about the importance of digital disruption and diplomacy in her recent Lowy Institute speech.
  • Australia's new Free Trade Agreement portal (built by CSIRO's data innovation group and DFAT) includes an API, allowing third parties to potentially display the data in innovative ways (h/t Dave).
  • Advice from the US on how Samoa can leverage data-driven diplomacy.
  • China's ministries and state-owned media agencies are on a video-making spree in order to influence opinion and get their messages out globally. The latest, on China's South China Sea position, is popping up as a video advertisement: 

Comments

The Asia Pacific is the most dynamic digital landscape in the world, home to the fastest adopters of new technologies and the largest concentration of mobile and social media users. An escalation in online activism, changing cyber dynamics, developments in digital diplomacy and the exploitation of big data are shaping the region's engagement with the world.

  • Fairfax reports that an ANU PhD student is behind an ultra-nationalist viral video posted on Weibo by the Chinese Government this week. The topic being studied by the PhD scholar? Chinese e-diplomacy.
  • Stitching together satellite imagery from a variety of sources, The Phnom Penh Post shows readers how the city has dramatically transformed over the last 15 years.
  • New documentary Jihad Selfie outlines the role of social media in inspiring potential ISIS recruits in Indonesia.
  • Facebook contest in Taiwan to satirically 'apologise to China' (started after a series of Taiwanese actors and pop stars posted online apologies to the mainland) has attracted a response from Chinese netizens on Weibo.
  • Fiji's Prime Minister has called on citizens to expose cyber thugs who he alleges are misusing social media.
  • Does the sale of Uber's China division to hailing app Didi Chuxing signal the end for US tech companies in China?
  • Inside the Singapore Government's lab of the future.
  • Africa's mobile market is booming and China's largest messaging platform WeChat (currently 5 million users across the continent) is hoping its suite of features will make it an attractive alternative to the more dominant WhatsApp.
  • How Prime Minister Hun Sen became Cambodia's Facebooker-in-Chief.
  • A great piece in the NY Times on how Cantonese cuisine helped this journalist's parents become YouTube Stars.
  • Chinese hacker group 1937CN has denied it launched cyber-attacks at two major airports in Vietnam last week, in the wake of the 12 July Hague ruling. The hacks, which distorted flight information and posted insulting messages about Vietnam and the Philippines online, also took over the airport's loudspeaker system (h/t Peter):

 

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  • Pakistan's Interior Minister is concerned Indian intelligence may be using social media to spread rumours that could bring down the morale of Pakistani forces.
  • Five experts review and respond to Naked Diplomacy: Power and Statecraft in the Digital Age, a new book by former British Ambassador Tom Fletcher.
  • There's a new tool to take down terrorism images posted online. Is it a game changer?
  • Israeli diplomat @EladRatson on how Israel became a digital diplomacy powerhouse and (allegedly) the first country to use algorithms and code to revolutionise public diplomacy.
  • The US State Department has changed its approach to countering ISIS messaging abroad.
  • Power has been drastically realigned and this academic argues Canada needs a whole-of-government digital strategy in order to engage with the emerging global digital system.
  • Emoji gender equality is finally here and emoji users now have more diverse female options than salsa dancer, princess and bride. 
  • An Al Jazeera debate on whether the UN's #NextSG process is transparent enough.
  • Turkey's President turned to social media to help foil last weekend's coup; it's not the only way cyberpower shaped Turkey's future this week.
  • As China considers its options on how to manage new forms of media, a boutique agency run by Egyptian Sameh El-Shahat is behind a series of online videos promoting China's global ties. 
  • Bougainville (approx. population: 300,000) must have one of the world's smallest communications budgets, which is why this video is so impressive.
  • NZ's Ministry of Foreign Affairs chief executive on how his diplomats are easing into the world of social media.
  • New app game PokemonGO may be the digital phenomenon of the decade and it's no surprise to see governments (including UK, Canada and Italy) jumping in on the action given the enormous potential:  

Comments

The Asia Pacific is the most dynamic digital landscape in the world, home to the fastest adopters of new technologies and the largest concentration of mobile and social media users. An escalation in online activism, changing cyber dynamics, developments in digital diplomacy and the exploitation of big data are shaping the region's engagement with the world.

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  • 'Have you been to Tibet bro?' This signalled the beginning of a recent slang-filled Twitter outburst from China's State Information Office. 
  • Russia recently cracked into the top-30 rankings of this soft power index (Australia came 6th). But how real is Russia's soft power clout?
  • The Queen is a slow, but steadyconvert to the Twittersphere.
  • New Zealand Story is the NZ Government's interesting new initiative designed to better communicate the country's value to the world. Involving extensive consultation and international market testing, the initiative can be followed via #NZStory
  • This is what it looked like when Iran's all-male delegation met an all-female EU team in Norway.
  • India's Foreign Minister, Sushma Swaraj, has developed a reputation for her hands-on approach to using Twitter to help resolve consular crises, but that doesn't mean she has time to fix your fridge.
  • A Canadian political advisor argues cyber communities should be used to help solve diplomatic problems.
  •  #KosovoUNESCO was disrupted by social media users in Serbia who drove #NoKosovoUNESCO
  • A British diplomat on why you should be tweeting about what's happening in Afghanistan.
  • Helen Clark has added Snapchat and Instagram to her UN Secretary-General campaign toolkit.
  • A Twitter spat erupted between the US Embassy in Jamaica and the country's attorney-general after a rainbow flag was flown by the embassy following the Orlando shootings.
  • Canada's intelligence agency has an academic outreach program and this foresight report (pdf), which looks at the drivers influencing security risks to 2018, is one of its major projects.
  • Tips from Australian Ambassador Dave Sharma on how diplomats should and shouldn't use social media.
  • On 4 June, the Canadian Government turned to Facebook to commemorate the 27th anniversary of Tiananmen Square.
  • The Indian Government has published an online book promoting its path-breaking diplomacy.
  • This slick new video from China urges citizens to pray for smooth sailing in the South China Sea if they want continued access to the newest fashions and electronics. Buoyed by the popularity of Weibo, it's a very smart strategy and only the latest addition in this ongoing propaganda battle:

Comments

The Asia Pacific is the most dynamic digital landscape in the world, home to the fastest adopters of new technologies and the largest concentration of mobile and social media users. An escalation in online activism, changing cyber dynamics, developments in digital diplomacy and the exploitation of big data are shaping the region's engagement with the world.

  • Why Google Maps works better in Pyongyang than in Seoul.
  • China's Communist Youth League misses Taiwan, and this love letter explaining why has gone viral on WeChat.
  • Social media is driving political change in Cambodia, but will the country's Facebook boom move beyond urban centres?
  • How the digital innovation and data revolution is impacting governance in Indonesia.
  • China's video-streaming apps (estimated at 80 so far) are creating an 'Internet celebrity economy' which generates more sales than the country's box office.
  • 100,000 public servants in Singapore will be blocked from accessing the internet on work computers from May 2017. Prime Minister Lee, who has gone without work internet access for four months, said the move is necessary to protect government systems from cyber attacks.
  • Two pieces on why WeChat's global expansion has been a disaster (and why most Chinese apps fail overseas).
  • It's open season on online hate speech in Myanmar.
  • This big data initiative aims to tap real-time traffic data to deal with road safety and congestion in the Philippines.
  • Code words and Facebook enabled some Chinese youth to discuss Tiananmen on 4 June. 
  • A multi-year, multi-technology cyber-espionage attack targeting Indian diplomats and military personnel included phishing emails, fake blogs and news sites. Here's how India's Ambassador to Afghanistan was targeted
  • housing crisis in Shenzhen, China's Silicon Valley, is leading to a flow of tech talent, resources and money to cheaper locations, including nearby Dongguan.  
  • Designer and technologist Keiichi Matsuda provides a terrifying insight into what a media saturated future could look like:

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  • The Russian Government's use of the internet to spread disinformation, particularly in Germany, is prompting calls for a direct and visible response.
  • Why was a Q&A with the US Embassy in Beijing on 'discovering America' scrubbed from Chinese social media?
  • Earlier this month ISIS launched a social media campaign involving supporters from European cities, in response citizen-journalists tracked those supporters down
  • New research (pdf) has found China's 50-cent party is mostly public servants who are fabricating almost 490 million social media posts a year, primarily designed to distract the public and deter protests.
  • Drenched in hashtags, periscopes and vines, the Israeli Foreign Ministry is aiming for 'less propaganda, more deep and truthful discourse'.
  • DFAT is beginning to use social media to publicly advocate for LGBTI rights overseas (h/t Lucy).
  • China is doing cross-Straits damage control after a Xinhua op-ed attacked Taiwan's new president for being unmarried. After demanding it be deleted, local media were instructed: 'In the immediate future, all reports touching on the Cross-Straits issue must go through responsible media personnel before they are published'.
  • A new Future FCO report by former Ambassador Tom Fletcher contains 36 ideas for modernising British diplomacy, including accelerating digital diplomacy and ramping up open-source data use.
  • This NY Times Magazine piece on how Ben Rhodes, White House deputy national security advisor for strategic communications, rewrote the rules of diplomacy for the digital age sparked a storm of controversy (Rhodes, the NYT and the journalist respond).
  • An Australian Army officer blogs on counter intelligence threats in the age of social media, including a warning for the 4675 defence employees on LinkedIn.
  • The US Government created a stir by using Weibo to announce and share photos of the same-sex marriage of its Consul-General in Shanghai to his partner.
  • The UK's cyber intelligence agency @GCHQ has joined Twitter. It's not the first intelligence agency to join social media (CanadaSouth Africa & many in the US tweet) and it won't be the last. 

Comments

The Asia Pacific is the most dynamic digital landscape in the world, home to the fastest adopters of new technologies and the largest concentration of mobile and social media users. An escalation in online activism, changing cyber dynamics, developments in digital diplomacy, and the exploitation of big data are shaping the region's engagement with the world.

  • The personal information of Chinese Communist Party officials and business people may have been exposed on Twitter in one of the country's biggest online leaks of sensitive information.
  • How are China's state-controlled media agencies crushing it on Facebook?
  • China's robot revolution is happening
  • The People Liberation's Army has developed counter espionage software so soldiers can continue to browse online via encrypted mobile terminals and military Internet cafes.
  • The Chinese Government is luring 'sea turtles' home to launch start-ups.
  • The Cyberspace Administration has demanded an overhaul of the country's largest search engine Baidu following the death of a university student whose choice of cancer treatment was influenced by poorly labelled paid search results.
  • But Baidu can also cause trouble for the communist party, as explained via this tweet-storm from NYU Professor Clay Shirky. 
  • Are Chinese net users concerned with privacy?
  • Apple CEO Tim Cook is allegedly set to visit high-level officials in Beijing later this month in an attempt to deal with the litany of issues the company is facing in its second largest market.
  • Apple's uphill battle is a reminder that tech isn't borderless.
  • I argue that Twitter is uncomfortably wedged in China.
  • The scale of Chinese cyber attacks on Taiwan has reached 'quasi war' level according to Taiwan's Government.
  • Again in Taiwan, public servants have been told to avoid mobile phones that use Chinese navigation satellite systems for fear they can be tracked via embedded malware.

Photo: Kevin Frayer/Getty Images

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As Australian digital diplomacy strives to catch up to rest of the world, these monthly links highlight the most creative and effective ways countries are leveraging the internet for foreign policy gain.

  • A fantastic blog post by @Lorey explaining how the UK's UN mission used Twitter (and hashtag #NextSG) to bring the public into the room while Secretary-General candidates were questioned. Note the UK came no.1 in this digital diplomacy ranking. (h/t @mattpdmorris)
  • Lieutenant-Colonel Mark Mankowski is the latest contributor to the Australian Army's blog debate about strategic deterrence.
  • Ukraine’s Foreign Minister answered questions on NATO cooperation, countering Russian aggression and EU relations in this reddit session.  
  • Israel has serious digital diplomacy clout but admits to struggling with engaging the Arab world online.
  • Anne-Marie Slaughter argues it is connections and influence over digital flows that make a country powerful today, not armies.
  • Plenty of lessons in this post on the genius of House of Cards' Frank Underwood's (#FU2016) campaign.
  • Canadian Ambassador @BenRowswell outlines his department’s experiments with BuzzFeed, live video app Periscope, online advocacy campaigns and open-source analysis.
  • Online engagement remains the Achilles heel of diplomatic institutions, so here's advice on how ministries can move beyond an obsession with social media and experiment with a broader range of tech and online tools.
  • The US State Department hopes its new SoundCloud podcast Meet the Ambassadors will help it move past perceptions of diplomats portrayed in film and TV.
  • Pope Francis has become a serious foreign policy player; he is now also on Instagram.
  • This important statement by Ambassador to the Philippines Amanda Gorely (context here) might be the most re-tweeted tweet (766) by an Australian public servant.
  • Former Hillary Clinton advisor Alec Ross discusses messy online spaces, Russia’s propaganda arm and the pain of the departmental clearance process in this Khan Academy tutorial:

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It was unfortunate that the day Kathy Chen was announced as Twitter’s inaugural managing director for ‘Greater China’ (China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau) last week was also the day she signed up to the 9th largest social network in the world. Clearly a first-timer — although there’s no denying there is immense value in fresh eyes — her entrance to both Twitter the social network and Twitter the multi-billion dollar company has attracted serious carping from a wide range of stakeholders. Many of whom, of course, turned to the network itself to tweet their disapproval.

Aside from selecting a Twitter handle with an expiry date, @KathyChen2016’s opening gambit displayed an unintentional knack for playing on the fears of western social media users who are increasingly concerned about privacy, surveillance, and freedom of speech. Their concerns include the extent to which tech companies work with their own governments, and extend to the moves and expansion plans these companies may have overseas. There was this conversation with Xinhua, the official news authority of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), where Chen said she was looking forward ‘to [a] closer partnership in the future.’ In response to state television broadcaster CCTV she stated the two should ‘work together to tell great China story to the world’. It was a clear reference to President Xi Jinping’s 2013 appeal ‘to tell the China story well’ that was subsequently adopted as a slogan by various limbs of the Chinese Government. President Xi Jinping recently reiterated this motto and last month the Communist Party’s publicity chief attended a ‘how to tell China stories well’ seminar and called on experts and celebrities to get involved. 

But as the Chinese Government travels on this journey to tell its story better, something all governments are struggling with, it should come as no surprise that social media users don’t want Twitter actively involved. Tweeted all on day one, Chen's posts attracted intense scrutiny and were perceived as a blatant attempt to cozy up to a government which excels in, and has disturbingly re-defined, the meaning of Internet censorship. But, on the other hand, this will be a big part of the managing director's job. Given Twitter has been blocked in China since 2009 and will certainly remain so for some time to come, Chen’s role from her Hong Kong office will be to work closely with Chinese businesses and organisations who want to use Twitter to reach global audiences and new markets. Government departments and state-run media agencies will be some of her most important clients.

Twitter is not the only banned Internet-based company with a physical presence in China. Google, Facebook and LINE all have China offices and/or shops, and these are in Beijing and Shanghai, not Hong Kong. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s attempts to woo the Chinese government have become legendary and he has copped plenty of slack for them from Chinese netizens, despite the country's censors coming to his rescue.

While Chen’s tweets to state-run media could be dismissed as too much, too soon, her comments about a ‘cute’ People Liberation Army (PLA)-capped dog hit too close to home. A Baidu wiki biography and various interviews briefly outline Chen’s post-university seven years in PLA’s Second Artillery Corps (now the Army Rocket Force). In addition to her role as CEO of CA Jinchen (1999-2005), a joint venture between China’s Ministry of Public Security and a California-based software company. Given the sensitivity involved in such roles, one can assume Chen held a high security clearance in at least one, and likely in both positions. In a 2004 interview, Chen described the antivirus software produced by CA Jinchen as an ‘email filtering gateway’ and cited Falun Gong as an example of the type of politically sensitive and harmful information the company could filter. One of CA Jinchen’s clients was the technical centre behind China’s Great Firewall.

None of this is good news for Twitter. It must have known appointing someone with connections to the country’s opaque military and security agencies and links to organisations that facilitate Internet censorship would create a stir. And Chen’s hasty series of tweets that were perceived as pro-CCP made this stir a spectacle. But perhaps Twitter didn’t think this through. For example, changes made to Chen’s LinkedIn account to delete references to the Ministry of Public Security were made only this week.

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Across two op-eds, China’s Global Times attacked those complaining about Twitter’s new appointment and used the occasion to promote China’s global role as an Internet giant. And indeed China is such a giant. Its rapidly-growing tech and mobile industries are some of the most innovative in the world and there’s a lot at stake. Which is why the Global Times shouldn't be shocked that background checks are done on senior foreign nationals employed in the industry, a procedure large Chinese tech companies surely undertake as well. Imagine if Internet company Tencent picked an individual with close CIA and US military connections to lead its push into the US and that person kicked off their Weibo presence with a series of posts about working with Fox News and the NY Times to share the ‘American dream.’ One would expect a bemused, and possibly angry, reaction from Chinese netizens.

While there don't seem to be any current links between Chen and her ex government employers, China’s public security apparatus would undoubtedly benefit from information she now has access to. The Chinese government would be foolish not to reach out to someone who was (at one time) one of its own. That's its job. Insights that can be gleaned on the inner workings and politics of Silicon Valley, including interactions these online companies have with their own and overseas governments, would be a valuable commodity. Any well-resourced intelligence community would be seeking to generate such a line of reporting. But that’s a conundrum for Twitter’s management and any organisation around the world that hires an overseas national with close links to his or her home country's national security community.

Like other western Internet companies, Twitter finds itself uncomfortably wedged. Caught between its mission statement, which its current consumer base subscribes to, and the compromises it would have to make to break into the lucrative Chinese market. Its current users are keeping it afloat but it is still makes a net loss. Access to the Chinese market could vastly improve its balance sheet. But at what cost? Its position is not dissimilar to those in which many states now find themselves. Australia is wedged more than most. Grappling to show strength in the face of uncomfortable moves by China, such as those in the South China Sea, while burdened by the highest exposure in the world (as a share of total exports) to the Chinese economy. Like states, many large Internet companies are caught on these thorny realities. Unlike their Chinese counterparts, Twitter's own users will be holding the network accountable every step of the way. 

Cartoon: https://twitter.com/badiucao

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The Asia Pacific is the most dynamic digital landscape in the world, home to the fastest adopters of new technologies and the largest concentration of mobile and social media users. An escalation in online activism, changing cyber dynamics, developments in digital diplomacy and the exploitation of big data are shaping the region's engagement with the world.

  • Stephen Hawking's popularity on Weibo is soaring at light speed with over two million fans in 24 hours.
  • This op-ed in the Asia Times argues Asian nations could use social media and drones in a propaganda war to shame and counter Chinese actions in the South China Sea.
  • Japan, creator of the Walkman and bullet train, is counting on entrepreneurs to rekindle its laggard tech industry.
  • This article profiles two of Asia's biggest social media players, mobile messaging apps Kakao Talk and LINE.
  • This blog post explains the alleged drama surrounding the United Nations' lost and regained WeChat verification status.  
  • The Indian Government plans to set up a new media wing to track and counter negative news.
  • Mobile money regulations have been released in Myanmar and that's great news for the country's unbanked population.
  • The North Korean Government has announced blocks on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, likely putting an end to real-time reporting.
  • From smartphones to smart rice cookers, this infographic navigates the universe of Chinese electronics company Xiaomi.
  • Now that Australia's forthcoming cyber strategy has been leaked, Fergus Hanson argues Australia needs a international cyber strategy and perhaps a Minister for Cyber Affairs.
  • North Korea's latest musical propaganda video, in which it destroys Seoul via 1990s CGI flames, is both hilarious and terrifying: 

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As Australian digital diplomacy strives to catch up to rest of the world, these monthly links highlight the most creative and effective ways countries are leveraging the internet for foreign policy gain.

  • GIF diplomacy is taking off. Here the UK uses it to timeline Russia's actions in Crimea.
  • A Turkish think-tank has launched the world's first global digital diplomacy ranking, rating 210 Foreign Ministries and 1098 digital assets across 33 social networks. Australia is ranked 34th behind the usual (US, UK, Japan, Germany, India, Russia) and less usual (Ecuador, Bahrain, Lithuania, Cuba, Peru) suspects.
  • Following in the footsteps of the Pentagon, the US State Department is establishing an official presence in Silicon Valley.
  • How to create 'wikiplomacy' by fostering both human and digital networks.
  • The Israeli Government is hosting an international digital diplomacy conference (#DigDipIL). The head of social media for the Israeli Defence Force has Storifyed the event (and shared his two cents).
  • Recently, Australia's Ambassador to Israel (and one of only two Australian diplomats with an official blog) penned a great post on seizing digital opportunities.
  • The Turkish President has warned a diplomat over a selfie taken at the espionage trial of two journalists.
  • A very brave BuzzFeed interview with the UK's Ambassador to the Ukraine on what life is like for her, her partner and children in Kiev, and how she tackles homophobia (and deals with Twitter trolls) while promoting LGBTI rights in a country plagued by anti-gay sentiment and laws.
  • Which world leaders are the most successful on Instagram and YouTube?
  • It's not available for download yet but the Australian Government will be hoping young Indonesians take to Next Door Land, a new e-learning app. The mobile app project is a partnership between DFAT and the Indonesian Ministry of Education and Culture.
  • Maria Zakharova, the face and voice of Russia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, explains how she 'wants to give the audience more' in an interview on the government's use of Periscope, Instagram, and the country's indigenous social networks (from 5.30 mins):

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The Asia Pacific is the most dynamic digital landscape in the world, home to the fastest adopters of new technologies and the largest concentration of mobile and social media users. An escalation in online activism, changing cyber dynamics, developments in digital diplomacy and the exploitation of big data are shaping the region's engagement with the world.

  • How a pop-up art show in New York on Chinese online censorship (visitors are offered split-screen access to Google and Baidu to compare internet access in the US and China) found itself censored.
  • Have influential sections of Chinese society reached their internet censorship tolerance limits?
  • The rise of e- and m-commerce in India is shaking up the country's logistics industry. 
  • The Indonesian Government is encouraging cooperation between driver associations and transport app companies (Uber, Grab, Go-Jek) after drivers staged protests against ride-hailing apps last week.
  • Cambodia's political Facebook war heads to court
  • The Digital in 2016 report has found that in the Asia Pacific region half a million people used the internet for the first time every single day over the past twelve months.  
  • How WeChat has made school days never-ending for young students in China (h/t @niubi).
  • New reports from the University of Toronto's Citizen Lab: one identifies major security and privacy issues with Baidu, China's largest search engine. Another analyses the shifting tactics employed in the long-running cyber espionage campaign against the Tibetan community.
  • Five things to know when designing an app to end violence against women in Cambodia.
  • With an average of 43 installed apps per smartphone user, Hong Kong is the pearl of Asia's mobile app market.
  • 21 strict rules issued by the Central Propaganda Department for how the media should report China's annual 'two sessions' gathering were leaked and distributed online.
  • Meet the 27 female executives who are elevating Asia's tech ecosystem to new heights.
  • Kim Jong-un has been emojied, and we have Kim Kardashian to thank for it:

Ben Gillin/kimunji.online

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9 of 14 This post is part of a debate on The 2016 Defence White Paper
  • The launch of the Defence White Paper was a hot mess of hashtags: Prime Minister Turnbull (#DWP2016), Defence Minister Payne (#2016DWP), the Department of Defence (#defencewhitepaper) and Chief of Defence Force (#WhitePaper) all used different ones.
  • As a result, defence commentators also fractured. Defence, which commissioned a 360-page social media review in 2011, would have benefited from one coordinated hashtag to avoid social media splinter and help measure impact.
  • More online coordination is evident in the government's response to Cyclone Winston in Fiji, with Defence and DFAT giving the public timely updates including good cross-promotion of each other's roles
  • The top ten best military apps for the battlefield.
  • India's Army, which has a 3.7 million Facebook friends, monitors and attempts to counter negative messaging on WhatsApp (interesting to note India's Army Chief reads a daily social media report).
  • 19 incredible photos from the Australian Navy (and more on their Instagram account).
  • A debate on why US military officers don't write. This response argues a problem of time and top cover.
  • Government blogs often fall into the trap of hosting little more than puff pieces, but the Australian Army's Land Power Forum blog, designed to generate new ideas, is different. Last month, Captain Rob Morris used the blog to argue the ADF should embrace collaboration app Slack
  • Major Mick Cook hosts a new podcast about war and warfare.
  • Grounded Curiosity, founded by Major Clare O'Neill, aims to engage junior commanders about the future of warfare. It also hosts a blog to which military professionals can submit posts.
  • The NZ Army admits to making a slow start on social media and learning some tough lessons. Lesson 1? Those who 'like' you on social media don't necessarily like you.
  • A warning for India's military personnel: if you're receiving unusual attention from female admirers online, you may be the target of a social media honeytrap.   
  • Brigadier Mick Ryan on why military leaders should fully exploit the potential of social media.
  • The People's Liberation Army newspaper, the PLA Daily, is the most popular Weibo account run by China's military, with 9 million followers. So it's unsurprising President Xi Jinping recently chose the PLA Daily to publish his first Weibo post, captured here: 

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 The Asia Pacific is the most dynamic digital landscape in the world, home to the fastest adopters of new technologies and the largest concentration of mobile and social media users. An escalation in online activism, changing cyber dynamics, developments in digital diplomacy and the exploitation of big data are shaping the region's engagement with the world.

  • In Myanmar, Facebook has become the digital outlet of choice. In fact, Facebook is the internet. Here's why that's both good and bad.
  • In the same vein, The Atlantic reports on Myanmar's Facebook-loving farmers who are benefiting from a drop in SIM card prices (from US$2000 to US$1.50).
  • The latest Chinese mobile app trends via the personal blog of a WeChat product manager.
  • Rigorous open-source analysis of last week's North Korean rocket launch.
  • Indonesia's online outbreak of anti-LGBT sentiment is worsening, with Japanese chat app LINE agreeing to block LGBT-friendly emojis at the request of Indonesian lawmakers who called them 'somewhat vulgar.' WhatsApp and Tumblr are also in the firing line. 
  • Online censorship is also rearing its ugly head in Thailand and Malaysia.
  • Harvard Business Review offers lessons from Facebook's fumble in India.
  • The Pakistan-based startup Transparent Hands uses crowdfunding to collect donations for patients who are unable to pay for their medical care.
  • 32 billion virtual red packets were sent out over WeChat last week for Chinese New Year.
  • Why is dating mobile app Tinder opening its first international office in India
  • A Vietnamese TV station supplied a soldier based on the disputed Hoang Sa Islands in the South China Sea with a virtual reality headset so he could see his family over Chinese New Year holidays. Watch from 1.05 hrs (h/t Asia Digital Life project).

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