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China Says US Uses Facebook To Spread Political Unrest

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the yeah-and-if-you-don't-watch-out-we'll-twitter-too dept.

Censorship 274

crimeandpunishment writes "A Chinese government-backed think tank says the US and other western governments use Facebook and other social networking sites to spread political unrest. Their report says, 'We must pay attention to the potential risks and threats to state security as the popularity of social-networking sites continues to grow,' and calls for increased scrutiny of the sites."

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Oh really? (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32864536)

They clearly overestimate the deterministic nature of the average social network user.

Re:Oh really? (5, Interesting)

Narcocide (102829) | more than 4 years ago | (#32865052)

Clearly they have yet to realize that political unrest spreads itself. Facebook just makes it faster.

Re:Oh really? (5, Insightful)

erroneus (253617) | more than 4 years ago | (#32865150)

I might have put it in different terms, but yeah, that's about the size of it.

As I grow into an "older perspective" on life, I begin to see that much trouble occurs when people try too hard to block "the human condition." We are all people and we think and feel as people do. It doesn't matter what spot of dirt you were born on or even what culture(s) you were born into so much. In varying degrees, we all pretty much want the same things and will act in many of the same ways to get them. (with a wide variety of personal limitations) And certainly one thing all people have in common is that we want to express ourselves and I'm not even sure that's exclusive to humans as I am sure pet lovers might agree.

The purpose of government is to serve society in a way that keeps it from destroying itself. I recognize what raw human desire, greed and ambition can drive people to do -- anything. That drive needs to be regulated for a healthy society to flourish. But without that raw human desire, there can be no healthy society and certainly no healthy individuals as our hopes and dreams are not so far removed from desire, greed and ambition. There are unquestionably good reasons why we have laws against murder and against theft. We need them to keep us from destroying one another. But going too far in the direction if controlling, limiting and containing the human spirit, which is what governments like China seek to do, and you will find people literally willing to die for the chance to express their thoughts and ideas.

In the U.S., our constitution (or what's left of it) was written specifically, to prevent government from serving itself instead of society. It has managed to slow the progress of greedy and ambitious people who seek to limit people in order to enrich themselves. The rights to free speech and to bear arms weren't written on a whim and were all about limiting what the government can do, because without limitations, government (which is a smaller group of people who regulate larger groups of people) will do what humans will do without regulation imposed upon them which includes killing and stealing and other things.

For China's government to assert that Facebook causes political unrest is nothing short of China's denial of what it means to be human. Every time I see censorship, I see one mind wishing to silence another mind. It just can't work that way... and it doesn't.

Re:Oh really? (1)

zonky (1153039) | more than 4 years ago | (#32865290)

Rubbish. Facebook has spread a generation of pointless twits who think that joining a meaningless group that they've forgotten about 15 minutes later is in anyway meaningful, useful or has any purpose.

The Americans are tampering with our internet! (5, Interesting)

ChrisK87 (901429) | more than 4 years ago | (#32864548)

...says the government that pays citizens by the post to write pro-government comments on Chinese blogs.

Re:The Americans are tampering with our internet! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32864606)

Of course. These are the words of a jealous government, that is trying to keep it's power. Beijing likes to have riots.....only when it wants riots. No one else should have that power.

Re:The Americans are tampering with our internet! (3, Interesting)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 4 years ago | (#32864712)

Riots are great, China got a free Rockex cypher machine when "protesters" toured the British embassy in 1967 Peking.

Re:The Americans are tampering with our internet! (4, Insightful)

the_womble (580291) | more than 4 years ago | (#32864660)

In Asia "western governments" are used to justify bad legislation and censorship in the same way that terrorists and pedoophiles are used to justify the same in the west. There are so many handles you can use to push the sheeple where you want them to be.

Re:The Americans are tampering with our internet! (1)

cyberjessy (444290) | more than 4 years ago | (#32865240)

In Asia? What a sweeping generalization. There are not many countries in Asia which has the kind of censorship China has.

Re:The Americans are tampering with our internet! (1)

Darkman, Walkin Dude (707389) | more than 4 years ago | (#32865252)

Maybe they should find somewhere else to sell to and do business with so, and China can take its 7% of US national debt and do what it likes with it. This kind of saying one thing out of one corner of your mouth and something else out of the other always comes back to bite one in the ass, once enough of your population take it seriously. I have to admit I'm a bit surprised that this level of cold war rhetoric is still rasping from the klaxons.

Re:The Americans are tampering with our internet! (1)

BangaIorean (1848966) | more than 4 years ago | (#32865304)

Just FYI - it's not just China and the middle east countries (Saudi Arabia and co.) that are 'Asian'. India, Japan, South Korea, Israel - are all Asian countries, to name a few. Your comment on 'Asia' is akin to saying that 'American countries' are full of drug lords and cocaine factories.

Re:The Americans are tampering with our internet! (1)

MoeDumb (1108389) | more than 4 years ago | (#32864666)

Americans use Facebook to spread political unrest, do they? Red China uses censorship, labor camps, torture and murder to squelch theirs. Clean up your act first, Wang, then we'll talk.

Hehehe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32864710)

You said "wang."

Re:The Americans are tampering with our internet! (2, Interesting)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 4 years ago | (#32864750)

> Americans use Facebook to spread political unrest, do they?

Sure... Teabaggers and Dittoheads.

By Chinese standards, Rush Limbaugh is no less of a problem than some CIA backed troll. Just being free to speak your mind constitutes "spreading political unrest".

Re:The Americans are tampering with our internet! (2, Interesting)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 4 years ago | (#32864816)

Like there aren't restive jackasses on the left.

Keith Olbermann, Bill Maher the anti-vaxer or my favorites...MEChA

Re:The Americans are tampering with our internet! (3, Interesting)

baboo_jackal (1021741) | more than 4 years ago | (#32864956)

Sure - there are plenty of political agitators in the US, all over the political spectrum. The funniest thing with respect to this article is that whatever agitation the Chinese are complaining about is probably laughable compared to the scrutiny and venom to which *our* elected government is subjected from Rush, Beck, HuffPo, Daily Kos, Air America, etc. Seriously, who would *want* to be president of this angry-ass country?

(That said, I respectfully note both parent and GP 4-digit IDs and defer to your old-timey judgement) :)

Re:The Americans are tampering with our internet! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32864990)

(That said, I respectfully note both parent and GP 4-digit IDs and defer to your old-timey judgement) :)

Shit, for a second there I thought you said 4-digit IQ s.

Re:The Americans are tampering with our internet! (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 4 years ago | (#32865018)

Yeah but China claims to be extreme left so they see right extremists as worse.

Re:The Americans are tampering with our internet! (1)

Stormwatch (703920) | more than 4 years ago | (#32865022)

Bill Maher the anti-vaxer

I swear, when I read that, I wondered why one would have a dislike for DEC computers.

Re:The Americans are tampering with our internet! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32865114)

Yes, but unlike you, Bill Maher manages to be entertaining.

Re:The Americans are tampering with our internet! (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 4 years ago | (#32865024)

Americanization is a threat to the morale of any authoritarian nation because it teaches people that living in shit and working hard every day just to survive isn't as fun as living in a western society and dropping all that strict authority and religion. And worst of all, the people LIKE IT! Of course authoritarian governments and religious leaders don't like western influence, it diminishes the control people give them!

Re:The Americans are tampering with our internet! (1)

BangaIorean (1848966) | more than 4 years ago | (#32865316)

And the worst part is, due to the extremely effective Chinese censorship, what we get to hear about the horrors that China inflicts on it's people is just one tenth of what they really do.

Re:The Americans are tampering with our internet! (1)

Sulphur (1548251) | more than 4 years ago | (#32864694)

Can they hire enough people to do that?

Re:The Americans are tampering with our internet! (2, Insightful)

TheEyes (1686556) | more than 4 years ago | (#32864814)

It wouldn't take all that many people to astroturf the most popular sites; maybe a few hundred, which wouldn't be that expensive at China's current wages.

The irony here is that Chinese wages are increasing, due to the chinese one child policy and their aging population; eventually it'll become far more expensive to play this sort of censorship game.

Re:The Americans are tampering with our internet! (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32865040)

The irony here is that Chinese wages are increasing, due to the chinese one child policy and their aging population; eventually it'll become far more expensive to play this sort of censorship game.

I just heard an NPR piece the other day on other effects of the one child policy,

Fewer children (especially boys) to help with farming. Consequent exodus to cities, leaving farms even worse off, maybe failing.

Finally, due to selective births of boys, there are now 1.25 (IIRC) boys per girl. So 20 percent of boys may end up producing no grandchildren to support either themselves or the grandparents.

Re:The Americans are tampering with our internet! (1)

Mashiki (184564) | more than 4 years ago | (#32864720)

Forget chinese blogs, they wrist pro-government stuff on any blog or website that has anti-PRC comments.

Re:The Americans are tampering with our internet! (1)

im just cannonfodder (1089055) | more than 4 years ago | (#32865048)

i think most countries are guilty of out and out propaganda. the USA and UK are far more slick than other countries but apply the same Orwellian police state brain washing tactics.

Re:The Americans are tampering with our internet! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32865056)

I'm actually more amazed at the fact that they haven't thought of the possibility that, just maybe, it's *Chinese* people that are spreading political unrest.

I mean, I hate to say it, but China is not quite the happiest place to live. Sorry, China, but I have to be a bit mean here but it's true.

Re:The Americans are tampering with our internet! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32865154)

No doubt. What a joke. So what is China now, everyone's daddy? China should F off and kiss everyone's Azz.

Re:The Americans are tampering with our internet! (1)

ozonearchitect (1290376) | more than 4 years ago | (#32865196)

And this is a concern of whose? Oh, a government that controls the people. Hey China, we control our government, or haven't you heard? China is trying so hard to take over the U.S. it's pathetic. The funny thing is, they think they're winning the cold war, but we're not playing weiqi here... we're playing chess, oops. They're monitoring all the negativity towards Obama going around the internet and they don't like what they see. It's so obvious Obama is a plant... fail.

True but not necessarily a bad thing (5, Insightful)

dbIII (701233) | more than 4 years ago | (#32864552)

Most stable governments can survive a bit of political unrest and it's good for society in general.

Re:True but not necessarily a bad thing (5, Interesting)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 4 years ago | (#32864590)

It's worth mentioning that the Chinese have had the worst social unrest since perhaps the French revolution. The cultural revolution was a populist movement, pushed along by one man who had been sidelined in the government. Lots of people died, lots of great things were destroyed. Given that, it is kind of understandable that the Chinese are wary of avoiding popular unrest.

Another point that needs to be taken into consideration is that the Chinese power structure is not all based in the national government. Just as in the US there is a constant struggle between state power and federal power, in China there is a struggle between the national government and regional governments. One method the national government has as a power lever is manipulation of the people; they are capable of fomenting unrest when they want to foment it (as during the Correfour riots [] . Some have speculated that the riots were aimed not at the French, but at the city governments to remind them who is in control).

Re:True but not necessarily a bad thing (2, Interesting)

DDLKermit007 (911046) | more than 4 years ago | (#32864812)

Actually it's not so much about local v federal. That's mostly to do with corruption, and not wanting to give up proffi...err control. They honestly could give two flips about autonomy unless you live in HK. The real issue that seems brewing to me is Western China military v Eastern China Government. What most know is the somewhat safe Eastern China where we get most of our shiny crap from. The Western China however seems to have more in common still with fudle lords of days long gone by. Just no one really talks about it much. The quality of life in that area is markedly lower (what middle class?), technology of course hasn't made much impact there, and if your foreign, your pretty insane to even think of going near the Western areas.

I'm still wondering how that is going to play out especially with the coming water shortages China is getting itself into.

Re:True but not necessarily a bad thing (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 4 years ago | (#32865060)

fudle lords

Not trying to be a grammar nazi here, but this sounds more like a Stooges-style comedy act than the feudal lords you obviously meant.

Oh god... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32864592)

What an idiotic karma whore.

Re:True but not necessarily a bad thing (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32864758)

There is a point on this.
Having problems sleeping beside your snoring husband? Try this out. snore remedy []

Twisted Sister is to blame (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32864554)

We're not gonna take it!

The obvious solution (3, Insightful)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 4 years ago | (#32864568)

The obvious solution is to use social networks to their advantage, to manipulate the people.

Seriously though, they do have something of a point, the US WOULD push social networking in China if they thought it would help bring freedom of speech to China. It's not the US government pushing social unrest, it's the people themselves communicating and finding out the problems with the government. I don't think the US government pushing anything would help anything though, and might even hurt in this case. Better to let the Chinese people find their own way, as long as they don't go insane.

Re:The obvious solution (4, Funny)

The Wooden Badger (540258) | more than 4 years ago | (#32864580)

I don't care what they do with facebook. I just want them to friend me and join my mafia.

Re:The obvious solution (1)

linzeal (197905) | more than 4 years ago | (#32864598)

Top down authority schemes do not work on Facebook that well. See how many people respond to Farmville requests from people they love, respect or lust, do you think nationalistic memes will filter any better?

Re:The obvious solution (1)

inflamed (1156277) | more than 4 years ago | (#32865120)

Ideally Facebook would give you a reasonable blend of information about the people you care about, with minimal information about or from people you don't really like. However, suppose there were heuristically-identified vectors for promotional material. Not salespeople - just the subset of the population which has sincerely latched onto some given idea. These users could be located among the whole user base by filtering user communications and user networks (social graphs...). Amplify the signal of these identified people in the information feeds of their peers, and you will have used people's identities for advertising by suppressing the stream of ideas and information promulgated by your adversary. Paying to advertise your ideas is equivalent to paying for censorship against your adversaries. Marketing is fraud.

Re:The obvious solution (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32864808)

the US WOULD push social networking in China if they thought it would help bring freedom of speech to China.

[emphasis mine]

That's an incredibly naive way of looking at US foreign policy. It should be -

The US WOULD push social networking in China if they thought it would advance the interest of the US ruling class. And it would not matter to them a bit if any resulting social unrest would harm or kill thousands of innocent Chinese, or turn China into an even more oppressive dictatorship, as long as it toe the US line.

Anyone who don't believe this just need to look at examples as Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and the various democratically elected governments in South America (and around the world) overthrown by the US in the past century to see how US foreign policy works.

Re:The obvious solution (4, Insightful)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 4 years ago | (#32864844)

Anyone who don't believe this just need to look at examples as Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and the various democratically elected governments in South America (and around the world) overthrown by the US in the past century to see how US foreign policy works.

Just to point out something blindingly obvious......that should be blindingly obvious to you......US foreign policy has changed a lot in the last century. It has changed a lot in the last 25 years, and it's making dramatic changes right now as we try to find our place in the post cold-war world (note the switch Bush made between isolationism to invading countries). The entire world has changed! A hundred years ago, European countries couldn't wait to jump at each other's throats.

You are incredibly naive to lump an entire century together and say, "That is US policy."

Incidentally, if the 'ruling class' is controlling foreign policy, it is the fault of the citizens for allowing them to do that.

Re:The obvious solution (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32864888)

For the most part, anyone who is elected to rule becomes the 'ruling class'. That's what the class distinction is between, those who rule and those who do not.

Re:The obvious solution (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 4 years ago | (#32865070)

Perhaps not the policy of the entire past century, but it certainly seems to be the same for the past couple of decades.

Your Farms Belong to Us (2, Interesting)

retech (1228598) | more than 4 years ago | (#32864574)

No doubt the FBI, CIA and DHS log far more hours in Farmville than just regular folk. It's a conspiracy I tell ya!

Re:Your Farms Belong to Us (2, Funny)

cosm (1072588) | more than 4 years ago | (#32864668)

No doubt the FBI, CIA and DHS log far more hours in Farmville than just regular folk. It's a conspiracy I tell ya!

I would say citation needed, but the current state of affairs speaks for itself.

Re:Your Farms Belong to Us (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 4 years ago | (#32865086)

I have never played Farmville, not do I care about Facebook, Myspace or whatever the most recent fad in social networking will be called, but can the farmers in Farmville have more than one child? Perhaps that would explain the political unrest.

By the way "political unrest" is just another way of saying "the current government want to take away some of your rights".

hah (1)

hubdawg (1148477) | more than 4 years ago | (#32864576)

Most of my friends and people in my social networks are the most politically unmotivated people I know. If anything the social network promotes apathy and isolation as much or more as it promotes the opposite. The medium is not the message. Individuals will seek whatever means to find the message they seek, the medium is not the issue.

Radio (3, Insightful)

michaelmalak (91262) | more than 4 years ago | (#32864584)

What if the U.S. were to set up a radio station [] across the border from a nation, and began broadcasting propaganda into said nation?

The Slashdot community frequently criticizes the media for making arbitrary distinctions between the Internet and non-Internet realms -- time for some self-criticism.

Re:Radio (5, Interesting)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#32864656)

Oh, I have no doubt that, if they thought they had a shot at it, the feds would be shoving propaganda down every last tube in the series, social networks included.

I'm just deeply unconvinced that something like Facebook, or any Facebook-esque clone, is a particularly effective medium for the US to spread political unrest in China(now, I can see a much stronger case for the US encouraging the spread of Facebook, ideally the real thing just so that we can make a buck on the side, or Facebook-esque sites within China, on the theory that they will magnify the effects of existing Chinese governmental problems).

Something like Voice of America, whether it is effective or not, is relatively easy for the government to set up. Some radio hardware in the nearest friendly or at least not hostile location, just enough native language speakers to translate the programs, and a friendly news desk to churn out the message. Getting the same effect from a social networking site is harder. Or, rather, getting a precise analog of that effect is pretty easy: just set up a VOA fan page/RSS feed/twitter whatever that people can choose to follow(and the state can probably block, in many cases). Using the social network more subtly and effectively is hard. Even the most sympathetic Chinese are going to be pissed if they are getting machine-generated spam from CIA fronts; because everyone hates machine generated spam. And it isn't bloody likely that we have anywhere near enough analysts who speak reasonably idiomatic Chinese and don't have better things to do to actually infiltrate social networks on a personal level and do message shaping.

Here is my guess: China, despite the authoritarian pretensions of its central government, has a great deal of trouble with corruption and mismanagement at the local level. When you combine that with a somewhat wild-west quasi-capitalist expansion, you get a recipe for a nearly constant stream of stories of abuses that would get all but the most dogmatically statist Chinese citizens upset. People's land basically being stolen by thugs with the connivance of local officials, blatantly illegal pollution poisoning people, fake baby formula with no actual nutritional content killing a few hundred babies by slow starvation, that sort of thing. The state doesn't generally approve of this sort of thing, often executing the perps; but it also generally does not approve of any spread of broader popular discontent about it. Some local anger is unavoidable; but censorship is frequently employed to slow the broader spread of the message until damage control and spin can be done. These are the sorts of situations where social networking tools could really make that task more difficult. Everybody is linked to their school buddies from back home, and their college buddies from wherever, and their work people from where they are now. Some nasty provincial scandal occurs back home, your highschool friend who stayed local tells you about it, you get upset and tell your college and work friends...

If that is the sense in which China believes that the US is "using Facebook to spread political unrest", they may well be right. I'm sure the Feds aren't exactly crying bitter tears over that effect, and they may even be taking more direct actions in its favor(overt and covert cooperation between strategic corporations and nation states is neither new nor exclusive to the US...). If, on the other hand, they are suggesting that facebook is full of CIA agents pretending to be popular schoolgirls or something, they are either lying or dreaming. The CIA might wish that that were so; but there just is no way that they have enough Chinese-speaking agents to have any real effect on Chinese areas of facebook, and everybody hates spam, so simply bombarding Chinese users with machine messages would be counterproductive.

Re:Radio (1)

JackieBrown (987087) | more than 4 years ago | (#32864664)

You mean like The Zero Hour? []

Of course, we aren't putting POWs on our radio for the sake of demoralization.

Re:Radio (1)

kg8484 (1755554) | more than 4 years ago | (#32864678)

If you are expecting me to be hypocritical, I'm not. I have no problem with Voice of America, China Radio International, Radio Moscow etc. The countries that jam those stations tend to be a bit on the totalitarian side, so it is fair to criticize them for any kind of censorship.

Re:Radio (1)

DesScorp (410532) | more than 4 years ago | (#32864708)

But we DO use Facebook for unrest. Just like our newspapers, TV programs, and yes, VOA. When the status quo is a dictatorship, then yeah, pretty much any kind of free press or communications is going to "foment unrest". So what? The only alternative is isolationism.

Now, maybe you could make the argument that we should go back to defacto isolationism; we'll do things our way here, and you do things however you like over there. That used to be the way things were. However, if we change that, then we're abandoning essentially all of our post WW II foreign policy, as the whole idea was the isolationism made WW II worse. To change that was to say that FDR was wrong and his adversaries stateside were right: stay out of their business. It's the Ron Paul school of policy. Eventually that means taking an "I'm OK, you're OK" policy toward a Hitler or a Stalin or a Pol Pot.

Re:Radio (1)

magarity (164372) | more than 4 years ago | (#32864804)

The Slashdot community frequently criticizes...
...Chinese policies and yet when I lived there last year I never had a problem getting it. YouTube, otoh, was never accessible.

Re:Radio (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32864824)

So your answer to maintaining relationships with unfriendly countries is to censor your own people? Uh, ok. Why don't we just eliminate freedom of speech since thats what China is pretty much complaining about?

"We don't like what your citizens are saying about our country, we demand you make them stop!"

Re:Radio (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32865082)

Actually, if you want to talk about across border propaganda, the current situation between the two Koreas fits perfectly.

On Wednesday, South Korean civic groups launched leaflets critical of the North’s communist’s regime, near the North Korean border to denounce the sinking of a South Korean warship in March. []

Seoul resumed blaring propaganda broadcasts into its northern nemesis for the first time in six years []

Eleven loudspeakers have already been installed along the border, and South Korea is attempting to set up electronic displays, according to the statement. []

Really, imagine if North Korea had the internet or...even radio. Instead of just sending out crazy loud shit across their border, they could just broadcast radio signals or facebook pages instead.

The only thing I have against China being pissy about it is that, quite possibly, the unrest isn't stirred up from outside the country but is an accurate reflection of the internet using citizens (are they citizens?) within their country.

Re:Radio (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 4 years ago | (#32865116)

What if the U.S. were to set up a radio station [] across the border from a nation, and began broadcasting propaganda into said nation?

Set up a numbers station [] instead. It's more fun and sporting to keep them chasing their own tails, instead of flooding them with propaganda, which they can understand and refute.

Now, what does that message mean, for whom it is for . . . ?

China? (1)

chebucto (992517) | more than 4 years ago | (#32864596)

or Chinese-government-backed-think-tank?

Perchance I wonder how many outrageous statements I could attribute to US government back think tanks if I tried.

F this warmongering nonsense. There are fanatical Chinese nationalists, yes. What I don't appreciate is the fact that there are warmongering US nationalists who get their 'stories' posted to slashdot.

Why not just outbid the US Gov in a tapping bid? (2, Funny)

G3ckoG33k (647276) | more than 4 years ago | (#32864602)

Why not just outbid the US Gov in a tapping bid? What could the market value be? Stasi and KGB would have needed a saliva bucket next to the bed for this.

Sounds like paranoia and projection to me... (2, Insightful)

divisionbyzero (300681) | more than 4 years ago | (#32864612)

Given that the Chinese government pays people to do the very same thing on every Western media/blog site they come across. I seriously doubt the American government does the same. There is no need. Apparently the Chinese government can't tell the difference between real enthusiasm (even if implicit) for one's country and the enforced/coerced kind to which they are accustomed.

Really ? How ? (2, Funny)

pawzlion (1740746) | more than 4 years ago | (#32864630)

What are they doing, not "liking" China's status updates ? Perhaps people are joining groups titled "If a million people join this group, we will overthrow Hu Jintao" Gee China, paranoid much ?

Re:Really ? How ? (2, Insightful)

macshit (157376) | more than 4 years ago | (#32864914)

There are plenty of FB groups/fan-pages like "free tibet", pro falun-gong, etc (and stuff like "free the monks in burma" which is not directly related to China, but which nonetheless likely makes the chinese government nervous), and those may be what they're whining about.

It's very unclear whether such groups make any actual difference in practice, even if they have many members, but they do help to keep such issues an active subject of popular discussion, and of course the chinese government royally freaks out at even a mention of many of these topics (I don't know why they do, exactly, other than an institutional proclivity to freak out at even the slightest loss of control over information).

Re:Really ? How ? (1)

Vintermann (400722) | more than 4 years ago | (#32865280)

I wonder how long that group would last if you actually created it. I admit I would be sorely tempted to join, just to make a couple of Chinese officials sweat a little.

The Rebublican Pary Agrees (-1, Flamebait)

Required Snark (1702878) | more than 4 years ago | (#32864636)

The Republican Party and the Chinese Communists Party are in agreement on this one. See []

A quote from Randi Zuckerberg, spokesperson for Facebook:

“At the Democratic national convention we were like rock stars,” Zuckerberg said. “At the Republican national convention I sat in my hotel room by myself for three days, no one would meet with us, I was like begging people to meet with us.”

Yes, the Republicans responded, as quoted later in the article, but when you blame mother nature in the form of a hurricane it seems a bit disingenuous. As they said: "Or maybe she forgot about the major hurricane barreling toward the Gulf Coast on the eve of the Republican National Convention?" As a self-professed snarker, I think this is pretty weak.

As I see it, the Chinese authoritarian attitude and the Republican authoritarian attitudes differ only in degree, not in kind.

Re:The Rebublican Pary Agrees (0, Flamebait)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 4 years ago | (#32864690)

why would republican or democrat parties need or want to meet with a facebook rep??? sounds like the facebook rep is a tad full of themselfs.

Re:The Rebublican Pary Agrees (1)

thatskinnyguy (1129515) | more than 4 years ago | (#32865130)

Someone please mod troll or flamebait. For god sake.

very close (1)

stanlyb (1839382) | more than 4 years ago | (#32864654)

In matter of fact, they are not so far away of the truth, considering all the privacy issues....or lack of privacy....

I use Facebook to spread unrest among supermodels (1)

Nova Express (100383) | more than 4 years ago | (#32864658)

All elbowing each other side for the chance to date ME! Luscious, luscious me.

I would post more about my sexy good looks are spreading unrest throughout the world, but I have to be at the gym in 26 minutes...

Chinese firewall with open proxy servers (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32864674)

China's government lets hackers use open proxy servers in China to break into computer systems in other countries and then keep a copy of whatever is stolen for themselves.

They can keep their citizens behind a firewall but somehow cannot manage to shut down open proxy servers.

They set Chinese wages extremely low and then pegged their currency to the dollar so U.S. manufacturers could not compete.

The corporations that pay for U.S. politicians' reelection campaigns got a cheap source of labor and U.S. citizens got a huge national debt because the government's revenue base from manufacturing and exports was eroded.

Can't imagine why a Chinese worker on a subsistence wage would cause political unrest. It must be Facebook.

If the Chinese want stability it's the other way. (1)

kawabago (551139) | more than 4 years ago | (#32864688)

If the Chinese want stability then they must respect minority rights, languages and cultures and respect all human rights in general. If they did that they would have a stable happy population. There is no way they will ever do that so stability is not what they want. Obedience is what they want. I don't think they'll get that either.

Only in China (1)

acalltoreason (1732266) | more than 4 years ago | (#32864704)

...would they say that people speaking their mind is spreading political unrest.

Governments oppose Free Speech (5, Insightful)

kainosnous (1753770) | more than 4 years ago | (#32864714)

No government really welcomes free speech. Some may claim that they do, but actions speak louder than words. The only interest that a government has in free communication is when they have a firm grip over it's contents. It just happens that the US and other western governments have measures already in place to control or obfuscate the information on the web and in the media.

They create tools such as the Fairness Doctrine [] , and generally flood the people with "different viewpoints" to muddy the waters. China's issue is that it has spent so much time trying to shut down the internet that it really hasn't been able to get the control that it would like. That's where this campaign comes in. It's the Chinese who are now muddying the waters. They come up with some reports that claim that the west is actively trying to hurt them. Then, when people see something online, the Chinese government can say "It's all lies made up by west. Trust us instead."

In time, and with the rise of contentless Flash pages and product ads, the web will probably stop being useful for information to any but the hardcore nerd with time and tools to push past the fluff. Where are all the RDF search engines that we were promised? With HTML5 I hear people talking a lot about video playback functionality, but I haven't heard any buzz about the semantic web. A web that gives you only pretty pictures won't help the world, and likewise won't hurt a government.

Re:Governments oppose Free Speech (1)

goodmanj (234846) | more than 4 years ago | (#32864834)

A web that gives you only pretty pictures won't help the world, and likewise won't hurt a government.

No? How about these pretty pictures?
(Wikileaks video of US military killing civilians) []

(Tienanmen Square) []

(Protests against Iranian election results) [] ...and that's just a start. We as geeks may have buzzwords like "semantic web" that we like to
trot out, but the fact is that whenever you give people new tools to talk openly to one another on a mass scale, whether that's text, audio, or video, oppressive governments tremble.

And the great thing about the Internet is that it's designed from the ground up to reject authority. Cracking down on free speech on the Internet, no matter what form that speech takes, is like wrestling a greased pig.

Re:Governments oppose Free Speech (0, Troll)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 4 years ago | (#32864918)

huh designed from the ground up to reject authority?! what pinko leftist commie blog did you copy that from? i can assure you when the MILITARY designed the internet, free speech was the last thing on their mind

Re:Governments oppose Free Speech (1)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 4 years ago | (#32865174)

You list three things that do little to counter the op's point which was

"A web that gives you only pretty pictures won't help the world, and likewise won't hurt a government".

You also missed his point altogether.

I mean all the government's behind that are still in power without any serious hiccups. At best, China instills the fear of death in dissidents and actually benefits. Iran, well they aren't a democracy to begin with so it is little more then a well crafted illusion pretending to give the people power but in the end, all it did was worry the authorities that they would have to kill some peasants. The US military killing civilians changed nothing. Those already pissed at the US government remained pissed, those who know war is terrible just pointed out how terrible or horrific it can be. Those who supported the war simple made excuses to why it was a mistake and went on with life. Those who just don't care might have showed some outrage but quickly went back to not caring. If anything, the first two I mentioned exchanged a few people in the groups but the outcome is the same. And none of any of this resulted in governments being changed.

BTW, his point was that if you remove everything (which would include those videos and reports) and only present pretty little pictures, it does nothing to help the world or hurt the governments of the world. Of course help and hurt are subjective terms.

No need (1)

izomiac (815208) | more than 4 years ago | (#32864724)

An idea must have certain characteristics to spread. Usually it's concise, moderately witty, and in accordance with a person's beliefs. Historically, I'd imagine state sponsored think tanks would generate such ideas and spread them to achieve a political goal. With the internet, ideas are being randomly generated to such an extend I doubt a think tank could introduce a unique idea into the system. So that strategy doesn't really work anymore.

Right now, I would imagine that the more powerful force is subtle hinting by traditional media. I know a lot of older folk that get very little information from the internet, and it seems that just about all of them think China owns all of our national debt and will become hostile to the US eventually. I've no clue who the puppeteer is though.

Re:No need (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32864768)

People are getting nervous though and see the handwriting on the wall. Not just the old people who watch Fox News.

Take trucking companies for instance. If a long haul trucking company isn't doing a port haul gig, it is either doing local short haul gigs from warehouses to retail shops, or has long since closed its doors. Most factories in the US are long since shuttered, and all goods go from a port town to warehouses, and from the warehouses to shops.

China is already hostile to the US. If they weren't, why would they be hacking Google? China's goal is simple -- they have a high population, and eventually they want to secure American farmland to feed their billions. If people don't watch out, we may end up like the Irish during their Potato Famine... the English got their food quotas; the natives starved to death.

Take THIS, China (5, Funny)

Concerned Onlooker (473481) | more than 4 years ago | (#32864748)

That's it. I am unfriending China.

Free speech: The US's most powerful weapon (4, Interesting)

goodmanj (234846) | more than 4 years ago | (#32864754)

This goes to something I've been saying for years now. The U.S. has some pretty impressive military power, but that's not what scares the world's dictators, religious zealots, and oppressive regimes. What do they fear about us? Rock 'n' roll, short skirts, blue jeans, and *especially* cell phones, e-mail, and Facebook.

The U.S. does a lot of things poorly, including, lately, waging ground wars. But one thing we're still very very good at: coming up with new ways for the world's young people to mock and ridicule authority figures, and for adults to talk to each other freely without government interference.

The cell phone, the 18" satellite dish, and the Internet are the most terrifying weapons against autocratic states the world has ever known. Is Facebook a threat to oppressive regimes? HELL YES, and we should be proud of that.

U.S. foreign policy should recognize this fact, and use it to its advantage. Rather than planning air strikes against Iranian and North Korean nuclear sites, we should be flying over and dropping cell phones, laptops, and MP3 players loaded with Rage Against the Machine and Ani diFranco.

Re:Free speech: The US's most powerful weapon (4, Funny)

andre1s (1688402) | more than 4 years ago | (#32864988)

Hmm reminds me of an old soviet joke the gist of which was A person from US trying to convince someone from USSR that there is no freedom of speech in USSR -In US a person can call a president an "idiot" with no repercussions -It same here replies the dude from USSR anyone can call US president an "idiot" with no repercussions

Having Labor problems? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32864756)

Oh dear. Someone tried to organize a union on Facebook. Tisk tisk.

Facebook spreads political unrest (1)

dilvish_the_damned (167205) | more than 4 years ago | (#32864818)

And here I thought it was completely useless.

Farmville! (2, Funny)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 4 years ago | (#32864836)

Somebody planted the seeds of unrest...

Re:Farmville! (1)

euyis (1521257) | more than 4 years ago | (#32865074)

Don't worry, the blossom of harmony is already here! []
(Also, who copied who? Or these two games were developed independently?)

and they are 100% correct (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 4 years ago | (#32864860)

facebook is simply free speech

and in china, the simple act of free speech is a politicized concept. politicized by the chinese government

the chinese government has defined speech as not free, so anyone who engages in it is by that very act of speaking freely engaging in political unrest, according to the parameters established by the chinese government

and all the chinese government has done is defined their own weakness. most of the time, you speak freely, and if they don't like it, they send you to work camps for 11 years [] . but someday, dear china, someone will speak the simple truth, you won't like it, and the simple act of you moving against that speaker of the truth you dislike will ignite a maelstrom of political unrest that will sweep you away. all internal, dear china, no imperialistic meddling foreigners needed

you've made free speech your enemy, china, and therefore all you've really done is define the parameters under which you will fail: due to the anger of your own people. you have already defined how you will fall: your own hardheaded need to control, even to the extent of the contents of people's thoughts. it is your fatal weakness, because your people are not robots, even though you treat them this way

china, your weakness is not imperialistic foreigners. it is your own people. because you have defined them as such. you have told them their minds are not free

Perhaps some though is warranted (1)

greentshirt (1308037) | more than 4 years ago | (#32864880)

While claims like these, particularly when considering the source, are easy to brush off as ludicrous, I feel an open mind is warranted. The United States has a long and sordid history when it comes to discretely tampering with foreign states (some of it now declassified [] ).

Combined with the recent rise of so-called astrotrufing (fake grassroots movements), and the trend of PR firms working for foreign governments in order to exact policy change (eg as documented regarding Kuwait, in Armed Madhouse), I think that there is something to consider here. That being said, in this particular case would it be a good thing if elements in the US government were using an American based technology firm to help give a voice to oppressed peoples in China? Probably, yes... But I think the intellectual, tech-savvy elite have a bit of a responsibility to judge this kind of accusation based on merit rather than on the (dismal) track record of the nation making this claim. Why? Because if we close our eyes when the tactic is being used on a foreign, despotic regime, we risk ignoring a potential threat which could be used internally as well. Freedom works, anyone?

In Soviet China (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32864882)

In Soviet China facebook unrest you...

L O L (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32864894)

American think thank makes wild accusation all day long ... and now Chinese Think Thank, woah!!

How? (1)

Kenja (541830) | more than 4 years ago | (#32864904)

How do you spread political unrest amongst an apathetic public?

Let a thousand flowers bloom? (2, Interesting)

identity0 (77976) | more than 4 years ago | (#32864908)

I wonder if the Chinese gov't (or other regimes) have thought of just using Facebook to track down the networks of friends and acquaintences of dissidents, instead of banning it.

During the Cultural Revolution, they said "Let a thousand flowers bloom", meaning they let dissident and anti-regime opinions flow unrestricted, suddenly free of censorship. But instead of listening to those ideas and implementing them, after a short period of freedom they cracked down and jailed those who had raised 'bad' opinions after they had revealed themselves. The promise of free speech had been a trap. I wonder if the same sort of thing could happen with online social media?

People in the west talk about privacy violations of Facebook, but imagine if a bad gov't got its hands on all that data and data mined it...

Wow! Didn't know that! (1)

YankDownUnder (872956) | more than 4 years ago | (#32865012)

...and here I thought it was just plain old "freedom of speech" that caused political unrest in politically restrictive governments. Far out. Yet another reason to blame Facebook for something or another. Can I blame them for the stains on my socks as well? Can I blame the US government for my washing machine breaking down? It could be a plot by the US government along with other Western governments to get me to move back to the US...OH WAIT, I'm in Australia...yeah...right...never mind...

China is using tanks to suppress political unrest (1)

cstec (521534) | more than 4 years ago | (#32865044)

X = 1/X - isn't that the new age's definition of equality?

Re (1)

conscarcdr (1429747) | more than 4 years ago | (#32865146)

As a Chinese, I /facepalm very hard at this latest stunt of our paranoid government.

Dumb Niggers and Gloating Sheeneys (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32865176)

Sometimes People Say More Than They Mean To

As Dr Johnson almost said, a black intellectual is like a dog walking on its hind legs: it’s not done well, but you’re surprised to find it done at all. One of Britain’s most prominent black intellectuals is Trevor Phillips, the Chair of the Commission for Triangular Squares and Flying Pigs – better known as the Commission for Racial Equality. If Phillips’ intelligence matched his self-regard and self-righteousness, he’d be pushing back the frontiers of physics or computer science somewhere. But he’s black and it doesn’t, which means that he sometimes says more than he means to.

He recently wrote an article for The Independent, one of Britain’s two big liberal newspapers, arguing for the economic benefits of mass immigration and describing a recent trip he had made to the United States and Canada. One city he visited was failing, another was flourishing, and he explained the difference using immigration. The failing city hadn’t been blessed by it, the flourishing city had. This is how he put it – see if you can spot the blatantly racist conclusion he drew without realizing it:

Immigration in North America is really about economics. I spent much of last week there, starting on the banks of the Mississippi. In the small, African-American district of East St Louis, the only businesses that thrive are fast-food outlets and beauty parlours; the tax base is so low that 80 per cent of the city’s education spending comes from federal handouts. By contrast the city in which I ended my trip, Vancouver, lies at the heart of a dazzling growth surge in western Canada. One thing above all accounts for the transformation of this Pacific coast backwater into an economic success story: immigration. Nearly half of those who live in the city centre are immigrants, among them over 300,000 Chinese and 200,000 Indians.

Did you spot it? That’s right: Trevor Phillips, black head of the British Commission for Racial Equality, was complaining in one of Britain’s big liberal newspapers about lazy, dumb, good-fer-nothing niggers. A city with lots of blacks fails, because blacks are lazy and stupid and just want to fill their guts fast and look good so they can get sex. But a city with lots of Chinese and Indians flourishes, according to Phillips, because they’re clever and materialistic and work hard for themselves and for their children. And what would happen if East St Louis got lots of Chinese and Indian immigrants? The blacks would still be lazy and stupid, but now they’d have two new groups to feel envy and resentment towards, and two new groups would learn to hate and despise blacks. Something similar will already be happening in Canada: Vancouver’s surface glitter will hide a lot of racial tension, and when that glitter fades, as it inevitably will, the racial tension is going to turn nasty.

That’s a part of why White nations don’t need Chinese and Indian immigrants. Even if they “help the economy” in the short term, it’s better to be poor and racially healthy than rich and racially diseased. We can survive on our own; we cannot survive in company with other races. What Phillips and other blacks are asking us to do is build our own funeral pyre, soak it in kerosene, and then hand them the matches. Phillips & Co are on the funeral pyre too and they’re going to go up with us when they strike the match, but they’re dumb niggers and don’t quite get that part.

The people pulling their strings aren’t dumb though. White nations never voted for mass immigration and with the exception of greedy, selfish businessmen, never wanted it. Only the small Jewish minority wanted it, but Jews aren’t stupid and they got what they wanted.

You can see them regularly gloating over their success in The Independent and The Guardian, the other big liberal paper in Britain. In the latter, one David Aaronovitch wrote of “the Joys of Diversity” and how he prefers the “quiet, paper-reading ethnicities” of his train-journey to work to the “exotic, incomprehensible” White racists of northern England, where the chickens of Muslim immigration are now coming home to roost. Another Jewish columnist on The Guardian, Jonathan Freedland, recently spent a month in South Africa. He’d campaigned hard during the 1980s to overthrow apartheid, and was naturally eager to see the fruits of his labors.

Alas, he didn’t find things in South Africa quite as rosy as he’d hoped and on his return to Britain he wrote a column saying so. But Freedland wasn’t worried about South Africa’s horrendous crime rate: the thousands of rapes and murders committed every year by lawless blacks against Whites and against each other. He wasn’t worried about the AIDS epidemic there, caused by black promiscuity and black stupidity. He wasn’t worried about corrupt black politicians cheating their own people and blaming all their problems on the legacy of apartheid. No, Freedland wasn’t worried about any of that. The burning question that occupied him during his stay in South Africa was this:

Would I see, at any point in nearly four weeks in the country, a white person serving a black person? I looked hard – at restaurants, at petrol stations, in bars, in shops, in banks. I never saw it. Not once. I looked at magazine covers and window-displays in clothing stores. White, white, white. Occasionally, there would be a token black face, usually very light-skinned.

“White, white, white,” wails Jew Freedland. Bad, bad, bad. But thanks to him and his fellow Jews, things are looking better and better in the formerly White nations of the world every day. Better for Jews, that is. For Whites, things are looking worse and worse, and they’re not going to look better again until We Get Rid of the Yid.

When can I expect my cheque? (1)

Arancaytar (966377) | more than 4 years ago | (#32865190)

Honestly, I'd love to get paid by the CIA to use Facebook. Maybe then I'd start playing Farmville or some shit.

Turnabout paranoia is fair play: (1)

Hartree (191324) | more than 4 years ago | (#32865242)

Wow... Does this mean that the Chinese government is also using Baidu Space [] to spread political unrest here in the US?

Maybe Gen. Jack D. Ripper was right, and they're using it to pollute our bodily fluids!

US spreads political unrest using Facebook (1)

mr_lizard13 (882373) | more than 4 years ago | (#32865258)

Adolf Hitler likes this

US tries to control what's on the web (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32865282)

US tries to control what's on the web, China tries to control what's on the web. Go on, look at how the Italian/Australian/UK and US governments are treating Wikileaks and how just about EVERYTHING is now a state secret (e.g. ACTA). Now compare it to how China treats the WWW here.

Not a lot of difference, except the western world is secretly giving power to corporations whilst china is secretly giving power to its government. Neither are a worthy goal.

While decrying China's excesses, why aren't we doing something about our own?

And when the US want a kill switch, think of how much more anger there would be if China could get the same deal for themselves.

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