Recently, American social media giants Twitter and Facebook used intelligent analysis of user behavior metadata to identify and delete promotional accounts that were identified by the algorithm as “Chinese government agents”.
This is an open class of Western “freedom of speech.” Unlike the general perception of the majority, Twitter as a media platform is actually a private platform with public attributes. It is like an open-air plaza where people can sing a show, but this square is managed by Twitter. Twitter follows the operating rules, and its act of deleting accounts is like the Bush administration. Because the bar sings anti-war songs, the resident singer is dismissed from the contract. It is in line with American freedom of speech.
Before 2016, because of the firm belief that social platforms such as Twitter and Facebook are tools of the US Internet freedom strategy, Western governments, think tanks and media repeatedly emphasized their “freedom” side. Other countries cannot use the country based on sovereignty principles. Boundary constraints such as security and regulation of the global spread of social platforms and the behavior of users posting content on the platform. But even at that stage, WikiLeaks and Snowden suffered significant repression. After the 2016 US presidential election, Western countries began to emphasize the importance of “regulation,” and strive to ensure that their social platforms are not used by other countries or non-state actors to influence or challenge the domestic political process of developed countries.
Companies operating social platforms maintain a complex, subtle and smooth political-business relationship with Western countries. The government protects the global interests of enterprises, and the company tacitly cooperates with the strategic needs of the country and consciously acts as a watchdog for national interests. There are clear, open and detailed technical procedures for the regulation and management of the platform. This kind of procedure is politically-value-neutral in its form, but in the process of implementation, the platform operators maintain a high degree of recognition of the national interests, that is, the so-called “small help.” Sharp criticism that does not touch the core interests of the country can be tolerated in principle, while at the same time fine-tuning. This control is closely integrated with the algorithms of artificial intelligence and big data support. In 2018, researchers at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom found through empirical research that the Chinese content of Twitter contains a large number of texts automatically generated by robot programs. The keynote is the criticism and accusation against the Chinese government. Obviously, none of the accounts that publish the text of these robot programs should be on the list that was banned.
It is also necessary to be able to use this method to strengthen and consolidate the right to speak and influence. If more than 10% of the accounts need to be controlled on a platform with a daily activity of 100 million units, the platform will face severe challenges. Around the Hong Kong incident, the “exit” action implemented by Chinese netizens shows that the local quantitative advantage can form some corrections for a smaller number of release distortions and processing information accounts within a certain period of time, but this correction is faced When the platform is controlled, it will tend to fail.
Simply criticizing and denying this kind of control is difficult to achieve great results. Emerging countries that want greater voice and influence need to give full play to the comparative advantage of network users and play the game of discourse power. Of course, this game requires full confidence, greater openness, more tacit understanding, and facts as a foundation. For China, it is necessary to make more in-depth innovations while clearly seeing the true face of the global cyberspace public opinion game. As more and more developing countries realize this, the paradox ecology and the right to speak in global cyberspace will also enter a new phase. What is certain is that it is obviously an unsustainable phenomenon to control the global cyberspace voice by individual monopolistic media platforms. It will surely become a specific historical stage with the spread of technology and applications, as well as the improvement of the governance capabilities of various countries.