China occupies Obama's Google+ page

The president's Google+ page is bombarded with hundreds of messages from Chinese citizens who found a way to get past censorship blocks.

Dara Kerr Former senior reporter
Dara Kerr was a senior reporter for CNET covering the on-demand economy and tech culture. She grew up in Colorado, went to school in New York City and can never remember how to pronounce gif.
Dara Kerr
2 min read
Screenshot of Obama's Google+ page by CNET

President Barack Obama's Google+ page was inundated with Chinese comments over the weekend with messages saying, "Mr. President, Please pay more attention to Chinese civil rights," "I want a Green Card," and "the Chinese GOV doesn't represent the Chinese people."

This barrage comes as Chinese citizens caught onto a glitch that allowed them temporary access to the Google+ social-networking site, according to Reuters. Now, each of Obama's posts--going back more than a month--has hundreds of Chinese comments.

China is well known for Internet censorship. Even though the amount of Web users in the country is skyrocketing, with estimates at half a billion, government Web site blocking is common. As of this writing, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Foursquare, Google+, and other popular sites are unavailable in China. Google has also engaged a long-standing censorship battle with the country over its search function.

Exactly how Chinese users got access to Google+ is not known. According to Reuters, Google has not done anything differently that would allow access to the site. Some speculate that it possibly happened through mobile phones, which could have been overlooked by censors.

In addition to political messages left on Obama's Google+ page, users also posted jokes, nonsense, and notes that they were "occupying" the president's page in camaraderie with the Occupy Wall Street movement.

The number of comments petered out today, according to Time magazine, which shows that the defect in the censorship system most likely has now been fixed.