China Uses US Concern Over Fake News To Push For More Control Of The Internet

from the literally-any-excuse-will-do dept

All this talk of fake news and the public’s apparent inability to be trusted with the task of sorting the real from the bogus has now led to China introducing even more censorship. #MakeSuppressionGreatAgainAlso.

China’s ambitions to tighten up regulation of the Internet have found a second wind in old fears – terrorism and fake news.

Chinese officials and business leaders speaking at the third World Internet Conference held in Wuzhen last week called for more rigid cyber governance, pointing to the ability of militants to organize online and the spread of false news items during the recent U.S. election as signs cyberspace had become dangerous and unwieldy.

As if China needed any more shoves in the direction of a more oppressive internet experience for its citizens. Following on the heels of a new “cybersecurity” law that did little to address anything more than the security of the government’s self-image, China is now using the garbage-fire-on-wheels that was the 2016 presidential election to criminalize the dissemination of whatever news the government feels is “fake.”

Ren [Xialing], number two at the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC), recommended using identification systems for netizens who post fake news and rumors, so they could “reward and punish” them.

In the context of this sentence, “reward” and “punish” both sound like they have the same definition. Unless the government official is hinting that those spreading fake news stories more aligned with the government’s aims will be given… something for their assistance in pushing the party line.

The United States has long been looked to as a free speech ideal, something other countries can strive for in their own governance. But countries opposed to those ideals are watching much more closely, looking for anything that belies the ideals the US government claims to hold dear. So, when President Obama suggests fake news is an actual threat to democracy, countries like China are going to use this to justify further control of citizens’ communications and stricter regulation of news sources — for the “good of the nation.”

Fortunately, our own government seems extremely hesitant to get into the “fake news” regulation business, but that’s not going to stop other governments from cherry picking dubious claims or statements originating from the “leader of the free world” to support their censorious actions.

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Comments on “China Uses US Concern Over Fake News To Push For More Control Of The Internet”

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That One Guy (profile) says:

Any excuse works when you don't answer to anyone

Not to say that China or other countries using US fearmongering to further their own goals isn’t a real issue, but let’s be honest, this is China we’re talking about, they’d use the sun rising or someone sneezing as excuses to push for more control of their citizens and/or the internet.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Any excuse works when you don't answer to anyone

That is fine and dandy … until it fails, which is inevitable.

Those that espouse such silly regimes usually end up with a civil war on their hands. Not to worry, that is a grand opportunity to enrich ones self with the “foreign aid” graciously sent by other dictatorships across the globe.

timmaguire42 (profile) says:

Re: Any news I disagree with is obviously fake!

I think that’s Cushing’s point. The Fake News scandal is itself fake, ginned up by the losers to avoid much needed soul searching. But Obama’s stupid self-serving statements are not just the laughable whinging of a rejected president, they serves as fodder for authoritarian regimes wanting to suppress their own people.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Any news I disagree with is obviously fake!

“The Fake News scandal is itself fake, ginned up by the losers”

This may be what you would like to believe but it is simply incorrect as there are plenty of fake news sites out there – are you disputing this well established fact?

Example: Breitbart is propaganda or yellow journalism and as such is not real – or fake news.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Rachet

Your allegation is without merit.

Fake news exists because some humans are bullshitters and because other humans believe the bullshit without any question or attempt at verification.

I find it interesting that many who refuse to accept a “proof” about one item claiming that all such endeavor is elitist and made up lies while at the same time proudly presenting “proof” about some another item – and they do not see it.

orbitalinsertion (profile) says:

Huh. I don’t see anything in Obama’s statement particularly justifying control, not to say that he may not fall on that side.

Control is a bigger threat to democracy than fake news. But fake news, more generally bullshit in its wider context, certainly is a threat to democracy. I see nothing controversial about that. But picking on fake news specifically doesn’t even rise to the sense (which is like, none) of legislating specifically against phoning/texting while driving.

Anonymous Coward says:

'Fake News' Give me a break!

The funny part about this entire ‘fake news’ debacle is that no one cared about it until the most corrupt and criminal establishment candidate in history, Hillary Clinton, lost because of a grassroots movement to expose her connections to the unscrupulous elite.

Now, the "establishment" has seen the power of the alternative media and its ability to inject questions into the mainstream narrative — and they are acting on it by attacking so-called ‘fake news.’

While it is undeniable that people will consume and spread false news and unproven conspiracy theories, the very idea that the mainstream media is attempting to silence the fake news conspiracy theorists — with their very own fake news conspiracy theory — would be the ultimate comedic act, if it wasn’t so dangerous.

Because, as many of you might have heard, President Obama declared “fake news” — the problem that never was — a grave threat to democracy.

Now we have a war on dissenting opinion with censorship and suppression hot on its heels, and an elected leader of the so-called free world touting the most undemocratic tactic in existence, censorship of the press — by essentially saying a free press threatens democracy.

No one should be fooled by such totalitarian rhetoric — the only threat to democracy, to the leftover remnants of liberty we can still clutch, is a government attempting to control the boundaries of allowable thought.

Our dear leaders in the US have exactly the same motivations for controlling ‘fake news’ as do China’s dear leaders; censorship of dissenting opinion.


Think of the Children!! says:

Fakebork is the badguy here

It’s become like michel foucault had an acid trip, narrative has become the only thing that exists without facefark none of the false narratives could have existed to the degree that they do, propaganda is to easy with it, which is why DARPA funded it, shut down fakebook and replace it with some sort of reasoned social network like HATEBOOK has a good sound, stop letting the mentally defective have access to the tubes they are clogging them up since they don’t know how to use Toilet paper

Anonymous Coward says:

Fake news and misinformation has existed in many forms. Why because it is in a news feed are citizens somehow less able to analyze it in the same way they do the National Enquirer on the supermarket checkout, a rumor, or email chain? Usually a glance at the URL is enough.

This whole fake news controversy seems like a hysterical attempt to invent a cause to explain how people “voted the wrong way.”

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