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Why China Cracked Down on the Social-Media Giant Bytedance | The New Yorker

By Jiayang Fan
April 20, 2018

Last week, just as Mark Zuckerberg, the C.E.O. of Facebook, was emerging largely unscathed from two days of congressional testimony about how his company works, the Chinese C.E.O. Zhang Yiming, who was born just a year before Zuckerberg, in 1983, and who also oversees a social-media empire, faced a similar ordeal, but which had a decidedly different outcome.

Zhang has now pledged that Bytedance will increase its team of censors from six thousand to ten thousand, create a blacklist of banned users, and develop better technology to monitor and screen content. It seems likely that corporate self-censorship will now escalate, in accordance with Xi’s wishes. Of course, Xi has pledged many times to restore China to greatness by encouraging innovation and creativity among its citizenry, and to strengthen the country’s soft power on the world stage. It is worth asking how many of his stated objectives he imperils by building what increasingly resembles a humorless and unsparing surveillance state.

Source: Why China Cracked Down on the Social-Media Giant Bytedance | The New Yorker

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