Chinese internet censors really enjoy the work


#1

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2017/10/12/1984-meets-silicon-valley.html


#2

2 million jobs? wow, big brother is good for business, I wonder how the boom in black bags is doing…


#3

And why not? I mean, a cursory look around the 'net will show no shortage of people who’d happily work as censors, provided, of course, the censorship agreed with their position, whatever that position might be.

Why should the Chinese be any different?


#4

The complaints of old, miserable internet censors working for long hours and low pay on outdated equipment in unhygienic conditions have been censored, of course.


#5

Cheaper to keep 2+ million people happy than 1.4 billion.


#6

so the Party considers 2 million citizens who get to see “the truth” (or dissenting opinions, anyway) as an acceptable loss? I guess it’s not many considering a population over a billion? Let’s see, internet says 1,338,000,000 total so I think that’s like one in 7000 but I can’t trust my brain for math.

I guess I’m curious about these worker’s beliefs.

Most of the censors said they were doing a public service.
“There is a lot of evil and pollution on the internet that people don’t see, and we are helping protect people,” a third Toutiao censor said.

So, no surprise that this was what they reported to Reuters, they’re not exactly allowed to say otherwise.

Most [job] postings are for young graduates, generally seen as more receptive to the job’s demands.
“People who have just graduated from college are clean like a white piece of paper, and will accept our corporate culture more easily,” said one Tianjin censor.

On the spectrum of fully-indoctrinated-party-members who remove lies against the state to cynical, “it’s a good living and resistance is futile so let’s hit the quota and make some money,” what’s the general vibe around the office? I imagine the political spectrum in the office could break down similar to any other office, with conservatives and progressives all working together. Do you think they talk about it or is it all eggshells?

And for the Party, how much better is their method’s success in controlling the media versus the Western model of moneyed influence and misdirection/fake news to manufacture consent within an ostensibly free press?


#7

Yes, I know the character is Japanese, but what the heck. I love plugging this film.


#8

“We are training the AI. They are not as smart. Hopefully they will learn to handle all this eventually.” For now, though, real humans are still in demand.

How about if we offload the censorship - as well as the party and the voters - to all be run by AIs? That leaves the human (and other) populations free to manage time and resources in more productive ways. Think about how much more we could get done if politics and commerce were computer-only?


#9

The problem with censorship is that it breeds dissent. Propaganda is vastly more effective at ideological recruitment and conformity. Of course the PRC does both…

The West relies chiefly on belief in the wealth=virtue paradigm as foundational propaganda in much the same way as older Western civilizations relied primarily on religion, but without the pesky problems of schisms with their fanatics and New Model Armies trying to usurp the blue bloods.


#10

I read an interesting take on Chinese censorship in a reddit thread awhile back when I was looking for good VPNs to use there (before the recent crackdown). The comment said that the reason for the censorship is easily seen when you look at the list of the ten most deadly wars in all of human history. Half of them were Chinese civil wars. They know the cost of uprisings, and they are desperate to avoid one.
I don’t know how true it is, and I don’t think that it’s enough to validate the loss of personal freedoms, but it’s still an interesting perspective.


#11

iPads huh, is that for security? :grin:


#12

My wife works with a lot of visiting Chinese students, and her impression is that they are overwhelmingly on board with the party line.
Anyone with a white-collar job in China right now has grown up seeing their own standard of living improve dramatically compared to their parents, and they expect the good times to keep rolling. It’s like America in the 1950s, with “Cities on the Moon!” pictures in all the schoolbooks. That kind of optimism makes it easy to ignore anyone who tries to kill your buzz.


#13

Meanwhile, we have calls for FB, Twitter and Google to censor fake news.


#14

Not quite - think of the gold bugs vs. Bitcoiners, etc.

Also I think there would be a convincing analogy to be made that for example Brexit is primarily a schism by ‘fanatics’ concerned about their wealth.

Most of the arguments (for and against) Brexit come down to money.


#15

Everybody in the USA forgets that China is still officially communist. It needs jobs for every citizen and does create them. As the population is still expanding, China creates 60 millions new jobs each year. Unemployment is not an option.


#16

Or at least see where it’s coming from.


#17

I sure see a lot of beggars on the street.


#18

I did not see many last time I was in China. Maybe things have changed recently ?


#19

Dunno. My second tier city has got a (non-government) charity soup kitchen, so I don’t think the government is absolutely, completely dedicated to making certain that all have work. Probably the government would argue that these people can’t (or won’t) work. I’m dubious.


#20

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