Net Censors Arrested In China For Taking Bribes To Delete Unflattering Posts As Well As The 'Harmful' Ones

from the gaming-the-system dept

Techdirt has run a number of stories about China’s increasingly pervasive Net censorship, which operates both domestically and further afield. According to this story in Index on Censorship, China seems to think its system still needs bolstering:

The Chinese government has revealed it is expanding their censorship of the internet with a new training programme for the estimated two million “opinion monitors” Beijing organised last year.

Once trained, monitors will “supervise” the posting of social media messages, deleting those that are deemed harmful. Beijing claims to have deployed “advanced filtering technology” to identify problematic posts, and will need to “rapidly filter out false, harmful, incorrect, or even reactionary information,” according to Xinhua.

Internet monitoring in China is an intensive process. Censored search terms are often placed on the list and then removed as a situation develops.

That fluid situation and the huge numbers of people involved mean that it’s hard to monitor the monitors — generally a problem with censorship. So it was probably inevitable that some Net censors would start taking advantage of their power to earn a little extra money:

Beijing police have detained at least 10 people, including employees at Baidu, the leading Chinese-language Internet search provider, over allegations of abusing their positions to delete online posts in return for money, the Beijing News reports.

The idea was simple, as the China News post quoted above explains:

staff searched for unfavorable posts about enterprises and government departments, then charged hundreds of yuan to delete the posts.

The posts covered a wide range of issues, including forced demolitions, pollution problems, extramarital affairs and bribery by officials, as well as product quality and companies in financial crises

Combined with the millions who will be censoring a changing list of forbidden topics, this will make it even harder for Chinese citizens to find out what’s going on from the mainstream Internet sites. That might encourage users to explore less well-known services in an effort to avoid such massive censorship, causing the Chinese authorities to recruit even more “opinion monitors.”

Follow me @glynmoody on Twitter or, and +glynmoody on Google+

Filed Under: , , , , ,

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “Net Censors Arrested In China For Taking Bribes To Delete Unflattering Posts As Well As The 'Harmful' Ones”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
That One Guy (profile) says:

Throwing a few under the bus

Given who they were being paid by, and what they were removing, I find it hard to believe that this is anything more than a PR stunt, a way for the Chinese government to say to the people ‘See, the censorship is for your protection, any found abusing it will be punished harshly’, all the while they set their own ‘opinion monitors’ to search out and remove opinions/posts they don’t care for, whether the posts are aimed at them personally or the government as a whole.

Anonymous Coward says:

The personification of mass conditioning, its been there along time, the difference now, the internet and their actions and reactions are making it extremely obvious, one day, karma will come knocking, it is the natural result of empires, they will fall, and probably try to take as many as they can with them, because their just nice like that

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...