For Zeng, a young Chinese woman, an hour of scrolling through Douyin, the domestic version of TikTok, has become a daily ritual. Livestreaming started in China in 2016 and has since become one of the nation’s favorite pastimes. Zeng is particularly fond of one creator: “Lawyer Longfei.” Longfei answers legal questions from his 9 million live followers every day. Many deal with how women should approach tricky divorce cases.
But in May, Longfei’s account was blacked out for 15 days, most likely because its content did not match the state’s position on marriage. While Longfei’s account was eventually reactivated last month, her case reflects how many streamers are struggling with the Chinese government’s increasing willingness to weigh in on what is acceptable.
A new policy document, the Code of Conduct for Online Streamers, released on June 22 by China’s top cultural authorities, is designed to guide streamers on what is expected of them. Having so far managed to operate under the radar, streamers now face the full force of China’s censorship machine – and future interventions could prove even more invasive. Read the full story.
I combed the internet to find the funniest/most important/scary/fascinating stories about technology today.
1 Hackers say they have stolen data on up to a billion Chinese residents
This could be the largest cyber security breach in the country. (Bloomberg $)
+ How China Built a Unique Cyber Espionage Behemoth That Will Last. (MIT Technology Review)
2 Web searches are already being used to process abortions
In the post-Roe US, such digital evidence could be routinely used in legal proceedings in states where abortion is illegal. (WP $)
+ Experts expect that some abortions and stillbirths will be treated as criminal investigations. (Atlantic $)
+ Google will delete the location data of users who visit abortion clinics. (The Guardian)
+ Abortion access groups say they have been fighting algorithmic suppression for years. (wired $)
3 We are getting closer to understanding the covid brain fog
Part of it is how the virus disrupts brain cells and leaves behind inflammation. (wired $)
+ How to fix your broken pandemic brain. (MIT Technology Review)
4 Ex-CEO of Cambridge Analytica Raised Millions in Cryptocurrency for Ukraine
But while the country has hailed Brittany Kaiser as a key ally, critics are skeptical of her motives. (WP $)
+ NFT sales are the lowest in a year. (The Guardian)
+ New law could grant crypto access to the Federal Reserve. (WP $)
5 Life on earth helped create almost half of all our minerals
Which is exciting news for the search for life on other planets. (quantum)
+ Making minerals is hard work. (BBC)
+ A pro-China online influence campaign targets the rare earth industry. (MIT Technology Review)
6 Twitter censors tweets in India
Digital rights activists worry that the country’s new “hostage laws” are fueling the latest wave of censorship. (rest of the world)
7 We’re still learning about how pornography affects the adolescent brain
But we know that the reward centers of younger brains light up more when exposed to them than in older viewers. (WSJ $)
8 Future breast reconstructions may do away with silicone altogether
In favor of tissue-regenerating implants. (The Guardian)
9 dinosaurs had the secret of survival 🦕
They were experts at dealing with the cold. (economist $)
+ We know surprisingly little about how dinosaurs reproduced. (BBC)
10 Chemistry behind the vivid colors of fireworks 🎆
There’s a reason you don’t see many blue explosions. (Fast Company $)
Quote of the day
“Contrary to the myth that we’re sliding into a cozy evolutionary relationship with a virus that’s similar to the common cold, this is more like being trapped on a roller coaster in a horror movie.”
—Danny Altmann, professor of immunology at Imperial College London, explains that we shouldn’t be so complacent about covid, the Guardian reports.