Reuters reporters chatting with former Chinese Internet censors

    Reuters reporters interviewed four former Internet censors who expectedly refused to identify themselves and who worked for some time on Sina Weibo, a Chinese Twitter clone. Unsurprisingly, the main task of the entire team was to filter posts for offensive or political content (it is very curious that the authors of the original text use the word apparatchiks to describe the functionaries of the Communist Party of China ).

    Weibo has 500 million registered users and therefore the censorship staff has to be kept pretty impressive - only about 150 people per company in an office half an hour from Beijing. At the same time, although there is no direct prohibition on the work of women, they avoid the “constant exposure to offensive materials” and all male employees. At a time in the office at work there are about 40 people who work 12 hours a day. The predominant age of censors is over 20 years, and many of them are graduates of local colleges. Their salary is about $ 490, which is comparable to the salary of a carpenter or realtor.

    Technically, their work looks like this - before publishing posts, the system first scans them for the presence of “suspicious ones,” in other words, those regarding which a person’s decision is required. Although there is an unconditional ban on topics such as, for example, the Falun Gong sect, which was banned in China, or the events on Tiananmen Square, censors use more “soft” practice for most other posts - the recording remains visible only to its author and is blocked from viewing by its audience. However, nothing prevents blocking the possibility of commenting for a violator-blogger or even deleting his account in especially serious cases. Each employee has to read about 3,000 posts per hour.

    At the same time, the censor must keep abreast of the events and be called on the topic: when weibo some time ago rumors began to spread about the alleged death of former President of China Jiang Zemin, many users who reported this used the words “frog” incorrectly and “toad” (frog and toad) to designate the highest official in the state - as a result, these words also had to be entered into the automatic monitoring system and the censors also had to work with the posts that contained them.

    [ Source ]

    Also popular now: