guy from cappie america still here (part 3)

So, what’s up with the Great Firewall? What I’ve been told:

  • Google is blocked
  • Whatever VPN is blocked

The Great Firewall helps China retain digital sovereignty and incentives them to develop their own tech and software instead of relying on Western software that remains in control of the West. It helps avoid digital colonialism, I guess you could say, which there is coincidentally a post about on the front page rn.

jonuno
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@SloppilyFloss@lemmy.ml
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Wouldn’t it be possible to make those incentives without putting up barriers?

Idk, maybe? I’m just listing one of the reasons they do so. I’m honestly in no position to say what would be better to do since I do not live in or have any connection to China.

Like let’s say for instance, trying to make a better product?

It’s not good enough to just make another, better product and call it a day. If it were that easy, the Fediverse would be bigger than the proprietary counterparts, and that’s not the case. The Web is dominated and controlled by Western software. To “build a better product” gives you, at best, hope that your product may succeed against Western software and that you’ll be able to have digital sovereignty. Why hope when there are more concrete ways of gaining that sovereignty?

With this reasoning, I can understand why China does what it does, but I won’t comment on if it’s their best course of action because, again, it’s not my place.

individual freedom of choice

Other countries don’t necessarily care about a Western conception of individual freedom. This goes for many countries, not just China.

jonuno
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True…but also I think the tendency is to grow as the others did, it’s just that we are at an early stage. There is no reason to believe this won’t be the standard one day. So our perspective right now is that this is a niche but there was also a time that today’s main players were.

I agree with you that one day the Fediverse may be standard, but why subject ourselves to “may” if we have the ability to be for sure that our software is standard? I also agree that it would take a long time, and that’s a key point. When it comes to securing digital sovereignty, I don’t think a country can afford to wait, lest it ends up losing the best opportunity to seize that sovereignty.

It’s not your place to think critically and give your opinion? Isn’t this a discussion to do that?

I’ll give my opinion on why they may have decided to pursue the avenue they did with the Great Firewall and how effective it’s been for them, but I won’t say whether or not it’s the best course of action or if they could’ve done X thing instead because there’s no way I could know. I’ll have to trust that the well-studied Marxists in the CPC made the best decision they thought possible.

disregards individual freedom of choice

as this is lemmygrad, i’m gonna point out that “individual freedom” is liberalism

freedom of choice

ehhh…

  1. it’s not like there is only a single chinese website and zero others

  2. are users free using software made by corporations like google? absolutely not.

Wouldn’t it be possible to make those incentives without putting up barriers?

does it matter? why shouldn’t they put barriers? the barriers need to be up. back to the “individual freedom” point, “free speech” is a bad thing (yes, you read correctly). china is right to censor their internet. why should the chinese people suffer the same fate as those in the west who are constantly being marketed to, being ingrained with false propaganda, encouraged to develop hatred and prejudice?

jonuno
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That’s great, but then you are limited to Chinese options, hence your choices are being limited. No?

users outside china are limited, too. if a web result cannot breach the first page of google, does not have paid advertising, and is not tossed around by whatever communities you are in, how will you know about it? no matter how good it may be?

the “choice” of websites in many ways is an illusion. like news websites. sure you can choose between le monde, bbc, the guardian, reuters, cnn, foxnews, ap, the intercept, nyt, etc but if they are all using the same sources and giving the same stories (as they so often are), are you really getting a choice?

i also think you may not have a good idea of what the internet in china is like. not all non-chinese websites are banned. and sometimes websites that were banned become unbanned. also china has equivalent counterparts to the “big” sites (like google, youtube, twitter, etc). and they are not limited to one choice there either, though just like in the west some are more popular than others.

I feel this is sidetracking the conversation, that is a conversation on freedom of data and privacy, I’m talking about having the options to choose what is available everywhere - even if those options are from evil corps.

i disagree. this is what i mean by “illusion of freedom”. the large majority of users have no idea they are in fact surrending freedoms when visiting those sites.

china is protecting its citizens from things that could harm them. including things like american corporations data mining. the internet would be better elsewhere if everyone had a similar attitude toward the net.

The Free Penguin
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okay, so china is fighting against disinformation. Then why are these blocked

mastodon.social lemmygrad.ml wikipedia.org

wikipedia is reactionary. there are reactionaries on mastodon. my suspicion about lemmy is that there is a blanket ban on all .ml sites and not that it has anything to do with lemmygrad.

The Free Penguin
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If this has to do with reactionaries, why is gab not blocked?

The Free Penguin
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What do you mean “wp is reactionary”?#

The Free Penguin
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Ok, but I can tell you one thing that’s NOT reactionary!

GitHub! Why, China, WHY???

@Wild@lemmy.ml
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I guess this post provides them with good reason to block lemmgrad.ml lol /s

The Free Penguin
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mit.edu (MIT did nothing wrong, General Secretary)

just off the top of my head mit had ties to jeffrey epstein.

soronixa
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holy shit, just checked and yeah lemmygrad is blocked :facepalm:

The Free Penguin
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Also, China needs to stop putting restrictions on games.

@CriticalResist8
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@muad_dibber@lemmygrad.ml hey is something broken on lemmygrad? This user shows up as banned on my end but is able to comment? Thought I’d report if it’s a bug.

Frog of War
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I’m seeing the same thing, but I can’t find where the receipt of their ban is, so I can only assume it’s a bug. I should probably see if rebanning them works, if they’re a policy/rule violater.

Edit: Looked everywhere I know to, couldn’t find the receipt of the ban. They don’t seem to be a rule breaker, though they do have a line about the ‘money vote’ in their bio, which is a right-wing concept so I’m on the fence about whether or not they break the no non-communists rule. Regardless, I’m going to let them stay for now, unless people object to my decision.

@CriticalResist8
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Their ban shows up in the main modlog (from the front page) 5 months ago, but just says “troll”

Frog of War
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ah thanks, that’s good enough to reban them, i reckon.

soronixa
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from my end (I’m a lemmy.ml user) this post is shown to be on !china@lemmy.ml , not on lemmygrad, I’m confused now.

Muad'Dibber
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Could be a bug, I’ll try re-banning.

@ksynwa
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Like let’s say for instance, trying to make a better product?

By saying that you’re implying that Facebook and Twitter are good products. Which they aren’t for the users because all they do is get users hooked using dark patterns and track their every move across the internet to show them targeted advertisements and sell their data.

I don’t understand how someone can be spending their time on an instance of a federated service meant to provide an alternative to this class of services and then suggest competing against them in the free market of ideas. Get some perspective.

soronixa
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so you claim that Chinese alternatives are free from dark patterns, don’t get people hooked, and don’t track users on the internet? if not, then it’s about who controls people, not using better products.

@ksynwa
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so you claim that Chinese alternatives are free from dark patterns, don’t get people hooked, and don’t track users on the internet?

No. I meant it’s wrong to assert that it would be a good practice to open up the market for western software companies and try to beat them by making a better product.

soronixa
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I agree, however, I think it would be better to do this by educating citizens, not by restricting them.

@ksynwa
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To be hinest with you I don’t think blocking access to (for example) Facebook and providing an indigenous alternative to it amounts to restriction in an ethically sensible way. I was going to write a longer reply but I am a bit drunk so I’ll refrain. Let me know what you think about so I can try to explain myself a bit better.

soronixa
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what I meant is that, instead of making access to facebook or twitter harder, educate people and explain to them why these platforms are bad. let people know that GAFAM are basically doing NSA’s work at this point, that they have started to centralize internet and take away people’s freedom, that these platforms see the user as nothing more than an ad-watching animal that has to become addicted to scrolling, stuff like that. if it happens, then people would see these platforms for what they are, and won’t be interested in joining them. this will benefit everyone, people can’t say China is censoring the internet or oppressing its people, Chinses people have a better digital literacy, etc.

the other problem is how the restrictions are applied. for example why is lemmygrad blocked by the firewall? it’s platform made by communists for communists, so I don’t see the ponit in banning it.

the third problem I would say is the Chinese alternatives themselves. I don’t see wechat or tiktok (apparently it has a different version in China) as better alternatives. they still have many features that are undesirable, they’re centralized, privacy-invasive, proprietary, addictive and profit driven, in other words, they become the very thing they swore to destroy.

@CriticalResist8
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Probably not, considering China is fighting against letting people be “no-lives”, that spend all their free time on a computer.

soronixa
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let’s remember that TikTok is a Chinses app. it has an infinite scroll feature that shows you a tailored set of videos that need an attention span of less than a minute. it’s litterally so addicting that instagram and youtube introduced a similar feature. it also track users.

I’m not blaming China here, this is just the result of centralised proprietary and profit driven social media that do not care for the user and try to maximize the time you spend browsing them.

but when it comes to the last part of my previous comment, tracking users and invading their privacy, well, where should we even begin.

@CriticalResist8
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TikTok is actually the foreign app! China uses Douyin, from the same people. I’m not sure how it’s regimented in China as I’ve never used it, it would be interesting to ask someone who knows about this.

But it’s a real criticism that can be made. Certainly we uphold China as socialist, but also see their contradiction with the capitalist world order where they have had to integrate not only the mercantile logic, but everything that comes from it: alienation, new fleeting products on new markets, and thus people spend their evenings infinitely scrolling Tiktok or Douyin after work.

soronixa
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TikTok is actually the foreign app! China uses Douyin, from the same people. I’m not sure how it’s regimented in China as I’ve never used it, it would be interesting to ask someone who knows about this.

oh, I didn’t know. agreed, it would be interesting to see the differences.

But it’s a real criticism that can be made. Certainly we uphold China as socialist, but also see their contradiction with the capitalist world order where they have had to integrate not only the mercantile logic, but everything that comes from it: alienation, new fleeting products on new markets, and thus people spend their evenings infinitely scrolling Tiktok or Douyin after work.

yeah, it’s a shame. the same happens also with free software, for example lemmy and mastodon have infinite scrolling as well. so even when developers are deliberatly trying to give users some control, we still have to deal with the unethical aspects of profit driven systems leaking into our environment. I guess capitalism corrupts anything it sees on spot.

soronixa
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I went to see if Douyin is different, and found this on its wikipedia page:

TikTok and Douyin have almost the same user interface but no access to each other’s content. Their servers are each based in the market where the respective app is available. The two products are similar, but features are not identical. Douyin includes an in-video search feature that can search by people’s face for more videos of them and other features such as buying, booking hotels and making geo-tagged reviews. Since its launch in 2016, TikTok/Douyin rapidly gained popularity in East Asia, South Asia, Southeast Asia, the United States, Turkey, Russia, and other parts of the world. As of October 2020, TikTok surpassed over 2 billion mobile downloads worldwide.

Some users may find it hard to stop using TikTok. In April 2018, an addiction-reduction feature was added to Douyin. This encouraged users to take a break every 90 minutes. Later in 2018, the feature was rolled out to the TikTok app. TikTok uses some top influencers such as Gabe Erwin, Alan Chikin Chow, James Henry, and Cosette Rinab to encourage viewers to stop using the app and take a break.

Many were also concerned with users’ attention spans with these videos. Users watch short 15-second clips repeatedly and studies say that this could report to a decrease in attention span. This is a concern as many of TikTok’s audience are younger children, whose brains are still developing.

so the only diferences are different servers and environment, and some extra features on Douyin (one of which relies on facial recognition, which means they scan videos for faces and identify them). honestly it seems to be even worse than instagram or youtube :|

jonuno
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Frog of War
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Imagine your country was specifically targeted by malicious propaganda via the internet constantly. You can’t use sites hosted by your political rivals, because your citizens will be bombarded with anti-you propaganda.

That’s the reality for China, so they blocked the western-backed sites. You can buy laptops with VPNs on them, some of them are supported by the government. But, by restricting easy access to western media, the CPC ensures their citizens won’t be flooded with hateful bullshittery on a daily basis. People who decide they want to visit western-backed sites are allowed to, but it’s at their discretion, which assumes they understand they’ll be faced with shit targetted directly at them.

There’s various youtube channels that upload from China, which in itself disproves that google is strictly prohibited. As well as blogs, facebook pages, etc. If you’re wondering why you don’t often see people from China using western sites that much, which sinophobes try to use as proof that they’re not allowed to use the sites, look no further than the sinophobes. People who live outside of the west detest being in our internet spaces, because no matter where you go - you’re going to find pages and pages of people shouting hateful filth. They’d much rather use domestically hosted sites, like Weibo and Vkontakte, where they only have to deal with the ideocy of locals and the occasional lost foreigner.

(Also note that western language speaking communities outside of the west tend to gravitate towards imperialist naratives, almost as though the provocation of English outside of the west was on purpose or something.)

really, the “firewall” isn’t really that much of a “wall”, and is more of a waist high gate. People who want to get over it can, pretty easily. But it keeps predators out, so it does its job.

The Free Penguin
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Ok, so apparently lemmygrad is blocked in china…

A site full of COMMUNISTS blocked in COMMUNIST china…

The Free Penguin
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Okay, but about this, you should be able to freely criticize the government without being censored for it.

Frog of War
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criticism of the CPC and the Chinese government is legally protected, ya know, by law. Chinese citizens are free to criticise the government however they see fit. The notion that China has the power to censor whatever they like is, frankly, a western one.

“Article 35 Citizens of the People’s Republic of China enjoy freedom of speech, of the press, of assembly, of association, of procession and of demonstration.”

"Article 41 Citizens of the People’s Republic of China have the right to criticize and make suggestions regarding any State organ or functionary. Citizens have the right to make to relevant State organs complaints or charges against, or exposures of, any State organ or functionary for violation of law or dereliction of duty; but fabrication or distortion of facts for purposes of libel or false incrimination is prohibited.

The State organ concerned must, in a responsible manner and by ascertaining the facts, deal with the complaints, charges or exposures made by citizens. No one may suppress such complaints, charges and exposures or retaliate against the citizens making them.

Citizens who have suffered losses as a result of infringement of their civic rights by any State organ or functionary have the right to compensation in accordance with the provisions of law.“”

http://www.npc.gov.cn/zgrdw/englishnpc/Constitution/2007-11/15/content_1372964.htm http://www.npc.gov.cn/zgrdw/englishnpc/Constitution/node_2825.htm

@ksynwa
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But is it really freedom if CIA can’t even run a campaign like Project Earnest Voice in China?

Frog of War
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Is it really freedom if the CIA funded pirate radio station Radio Free Asia/Europe is suppressed?

The Free Penguin
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pirate

You think that the fact that it’s “pirated” according to you somehow makes it worse? I believe that piracy should be legalized because, in my opinion, copyright is just another tool of the bourgeoisie.

Frog of War
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“Pirate” radio, just means the radio station wasn’t licensed and broadcasts illegally. Radio Free Asia/Europe was illegally set up by the CIA in communist countries to broadcast anti-communist propaganda. RFE was a noted inciter of the Hungarian uprising, and I’ve heard RFA was broadcasting inciting propaganda in the leadup and followup to Tiananmen.

I support pirate radio. I won’t say directly, because I’m not using a VPN to hide my traffic from my service provider, but I may or may not have worked on PR projects. You picked into the wrong part of the statement.

The Free Penguin
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Wait, so google.com and google.com.hk are allowed, but not google.cn?

@birokop@lemmy.ml
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I can’t believe people are defending the great firewall on a place like lemmy. The internet was built to connect everyone and that everyone could have access to all information, not just the part that your goverment wants you to see.

And to answer the question yes google is blocked, as are most western social media. VPN is not blocked since that would be impossible but they sure are trying, by blocking ips that are known to be VPNs. Source: I’ve been there

China is not as bad as all the propaganda makes it seem, but they sure aren’t good. It’s still a totalitarian regime that’s done some real fucked up things.

@CriticalResist8
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People are defending the firewall on Lemmygrad, the original instance and a communist one.

China is not obligated to let Facebook or Twitter operate in their country. And when you see how these companies operate honestly they made the right call. There was a time around 15 years ago when nobody knew what Facebook was and we lived just fine. I don’t really see how Facebook connects me to the world (especially as China offers their own solution) when all I see there are boomers, anti vaxxers, click bait videos, and an algorithm designed to make me spend more and more time there.

It’s still a totalitarian regime that’s done some real fucked up things.

Don’t worry, they still have a long ways to go before they reach the level of the US.

soronixa
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I can’t believe people are defending the great firewall on a place like lemmy. The internet was built to connect everyone and that everyone could have access to all information, not just the part that your goverment wants you to see.

Ah, the irony. lemmygrad itself seems to be blocked in mainland China. if that doesn’t convince our friends on lemmygrad that there’s something wrong with the way China censors internet, I don’t know what will

China is not as bad as all the propaganda makes it seem, but they sure aren’t good. It’s still a totalitarian regime that’s done some real fucked up things.

agreed. I’m just confused by the way lemmygrad’s users avoid criticizing china even when it deserves it. I mean it’s literally the responsiblity of a good supporter to criticize you when you do something wrong.

@CriticalResist8
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lemmygrad itself seems to be blocked in mainland China. if that doesn’t convince our friends on lemmygrad that there’s something wrong with the way China censors internet, I don’t know what will

It’s probably a blanket ban on ml domains. Regardless, China is free to block whichever sites they want and I don’t see us addressing a petition to the CPC asking for Lemmygrad to be unblocked lol. Maybe they have a form that makes it easy, maybe not, but I don’t think it’s worth doing the procedure while Lemmygrad is still so small. Also if Chinese comrades joined most of us could not even speak to them lol. But that’s not a official admin opinion, just my own.

I’m just confused by the way lemmygrad’s users avoid criticizing china even when it deserves it.

We just haven’t seen anything objectionable so far 🤷‍♂️

soronixa
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It’s probably a blanket ban on ml domains

that’s a possibility, but why would someone ban an entire TLD?

I don’t think it’s worth doing the procedure while Lemmygrad is still so small. Also if Chinese comrades joined most of us could not even speak to them lol.

I’m not a lemmygrad user, but I think it’s worth it. we can probably integrate some translation add-on for Lemmy so that we can communicate? it would be interesting. I also read somewhere that a news website became available after a request.

We just haven’t seen anything objectionable so far 🤷‍♂️

I assume you’re talking about the firewall, not surveillance or alternative platforms. I still think restricting instead of educating is indeed objectionable. if these platforms are harmful to citizens (and I do think facebook and twitter are harmful to everyone except their owners), then it should be possible to convince citizens to avoid them by educating them, there’s no need to restrict them. have you ever experienced such restrictions? it’s frustrating, and makes you resent whoever has put limitations on your access. not to mention that using VPNs to get around it can also be a problem, users might end up handing over their data to an untrustworthy company. not to mention that censorship on this scale harms China’s public image.

@solune
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that’s a possibility, but why would someone ban an entire TLD?

If I had to guess, I’d say it’s because you can apparently register a .ml domain for free. I don’t have any statistics to back me up here, but it’s likely that spammers/scammers/other shady stuff commonly use .ml domains as a result, since it would allow them to create a large number of websites for free for use in things such as manipulating SEO, making websites with a similar url to a legitimate one for use in phishing, making websites that will only last a short time, etc.

I still think restricting instead of educating is indeed objectionable. if these platforms are harmful to citizens (and I do think facebook and twitter are harmful to everyone except their owners), then it should be possible to convince citizens to avoid them by educating them, there’s no need to restrict them.

The problem with just educating users, is that it likely wouldn’t be enough. I’m sure you’ve seen people who are well aware of how social media is manipulating them into continuing to use it, but they still can’t get themselves to stop, even when it’s making their mental health noticeable worse. It’s literally designed to make you feel like you’re in control and can stop at any time, while being designed in such a way as to make it feel very rewarding to continue using it (content fed to the user in small pieces, people “interacting” with your content as a form of validation, thus encouraging continued use), and very difficult to stop (fear of missing out). On top of that, many social media platforms sell advertising services that subtly change what a user sees, in a way that can be very difficult to notice (and thus consciously counteract) in order to make them more likely to buy a product or take a certain action.

soronixa
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If I had to guess, I’d say it’s because you can apparently register a .ml domain for free. I don’t have any statistics to back me up here, but it’s likely that spammers/scammers/other shady stuff commonly use .ml domains as a result, since it would allow them to create a large number of websites for free for use in things such as manipulating SEO, making websites with a similar url to a legitimate one for use in phishing, making websites that will only last a short time, etc.

that’s plausible and possibly the reason behind the ban. however, this makes it harder for poor people to make a website, it’s free to register a domain for a reason.

update: checked lemmy.161.social and it’s accessible, so most probably you’re right.

The problem with just educating users, is that it likely wouldn’t be enough. I’m sure you’ve seen people who are well aware of how social media is manipulating them into continuing to use it, but they still can’t get themselves to stop, even when it’s making their mental health noticeable worse. It’s literally designed to make you feel like you’re in control and can stop at any time, while being designed in such a way as to make it feel very rewarding to continue using it (content fed to the user in small pieces, people “interacting” with your content as a form of validation, thus encouraging continued use), and very difficult to stop (fear of missing out). On top of that, many social media platforms sell advertising services that subtly change what a user sees, in a way that can be very difficult to notice (and thus consciously counteract) in order to make them more likely to buy a product or take a certain action.

I think if people were being educted on the dangers of centralized corporate-owned and propritary social media and then were given proper decentralized, free and open source platforms that are owned by users, there whouldn’t be a chance they would intentionally choose to become a slave and give their data to companies and government agencies.

now, there are two points, first, we know that currently there are many people in China accessing this services by circumventing the firewall. this in itself shows that there’s a need for such a education.

second point is that China’s alternatives aren’t any better, the only reason China is using them instead of western software, is to be able to control the data of its citizens (instead of NSA doing that job for them). so it’s not out of consideration for citizens, or protecting their freedom. if one of the most powerful contries in the world really wanted to give freedom to the users of their social media and respect them, they could do it, they just don’t want.

@Suckingdicksince90
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The Free Penguin
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Which vpns are allowed Nord: [BLOCKD] Dashlane: [BLOCKD]

@Suckingdicksince90
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jonuno
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@Suckingdicksince90
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jonuno
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@Suckingdicksince90
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A place for focusing on all things China - language, history, politics, etc.

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