Wednesday March 20, 2019
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Gap Apologised For Wrong China Map on its T-Shirt

Several other companies had issued similar apologies earlier this year after information on their websites appeared to conflict with China's territorial claims.

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US clothing brand Gap has apologised for selling T-shirts which it said showed an
Gap apologises for wrong Chinese map on its T-Shirts. Pixabay

US clothing brand Gap has apologised for selling T-shirts which it said showed an “incorrect map” of China.

The apology came after one person posted pictures of the T-shirt on Chinese social media network Weibo saying that Chinese-claimed territories, including “Southern Tibet” — a huge swathe of territory it claims in the northeast Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh, the island of Taiwan and the South China Sea were not shown on it, the BBC reported.

The post on Monday, which said that the T-shirt was being sold in Canada, drew the ire of Chinese netizens. In a statement, Gap said it “sincerely apologised for this unintentional error” and had pulled the T-shirts from the Chinese market and destroyed them.

“Gap Inc. respects China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. We’ve learned that a Gap brand T-shirt sold in some overseas markets failed to reflect the correct map of China in the design,” the company said.

The company didn’t say whether the product would be withdrawn from sale in other markets.

US clothing brand Gap has apologised for selling T-shirts which it said showed an "incorrect map" of China.
Accurate Map of China, Pixabay

Several other companies had issued similar apologies earlier this year after information on their websites appeared to conflict with China’s territorial claims.

In January, Marriott International apologised to China after sending a letter to rewards club members that listed Tibet, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan as options on a question asking customers their countries of residence.

Fashion brand Zara and Delta Air Lines drew Beijing’s ire and apologised for listing Taiwan and/or Tibet as countries on drop-down menus on their websites.

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In 2017, German carmaker Audi was in hot water for omitting Taiwan and parts of western China on a map used at their annual meeting, while Mercedes-Benz apologised in February for quoting the Dalai Lama, the exiled spiritual leader of Tibet, on Instagram.

The White House had earlier described China’s claims as “Orwellian nonsense” and sharply criticised Beijing for trying to impose its “political correctness on American companies and their citizens”. (IANS)

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Despite All The Efforts, Political Campaign Spends on Social Media Remain A Mystery

But even as the Election Commission has made social media companies follow certain norms, such as pre-certification of political ads to prevent misuse of the platforms, such measures are unlikely to bring adequate transparency to the whole process

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The Election Commission is in talks with the representatives of Internet companies, including social media platforms, on the use of social media for campaigning in the Lok Sabha polls while the Model Code of Conduct is in force. Pixabay

Despite all the efforts put in place by social media companies to show who is paying for the political advertisements on their platforms, the users may not know the actual amount spent to run political campaigns on these websites.

Facebook has a searchable database for political ads which anyone can access. This Ad Library report from the social media giant shows that Indians have spent over Rs 6.5 crore in over 30,000 ads related to politics since February 2019 — in the run up to the general elections.

Similarly, Twitter also has an Ad Transparency Centre which allows one to search which account has spent how much in the past seven days.

social media
“In terms of political ads, social media companies should allow only certified agencies to post ads. This would make the monitoring process much easier for everyone. Allowing any individual to post political ads complicates the monitoring process. This is a big loophole,” he said. Pixabay

While these efforts are being regarded as important steps towards bringing transparency in the political process, they may not reflect the complete picture of how the social media space operates, according to experts.

“Influencers play a very important role in political campaigns and 90 per cent of the transactions related to these campaigns are done through cash,” social media expert Anoop Mishra told IANS.

Knowing which party is spending how much on social media is important because much of what trends on Twitter or what becomes popular on Facebook – with potential to impact voter behaviour – may actually be due to the money and manpower of political parties while creating an illusion of organic support from hundreds and thousands of users in these platforms.

“Every political party including the BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party), Congress, Samajwadi Party and BSP (Bahujan Samaj Party) are trying to push their agenda on social media. But those parties with greater money, manpower and tech expertise are likely to win the social media war,” Mishra said.

He added that political parties were employing a large number of people to make their propaganda material viral on social media.

twitter
Similarly, Twitter also has an Ad Transparency Centre which allows one to search which account has spent how much in the past seven days.
Pixabay

“In terms of political ads, social media companies should allow only certified agencies to post ads. This would make the monitoring process much easier for everyone. Allowing any individual to post political ads complicates the monitoring process. This is a big loophole,” he said.

“Encrypted platforms like WhatsApp could be used extensively to spread advertisements and propaganda, which could be difficult to be tracked,” added Prasanth Sugathan, Legal Director, Software Freedom Law Centre (SFLC.in), a Delhi-based not-for-profit legal services body.

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The Election Commission is in talks with the representatives of Internet companies, including social media platforms, on the use of social media for campaigning in the Lok Sabha polls while the Model Code of Conduct is in force.

But even as the Election Commission has made social media companies follow certain norms, such as pre-certification of political ads to prevent misuse of the platforms, such measures are unlikely to bring adequate transparency to the whole process. (IANS)