June 23, 2019

Even the Stupidest Stories Can lead Us To Worrisome Truths

In bowels of the previous post we snarked briefly about that Tifa non-troversey and how it was distracting from potentially worrisome issues with the game. That post hyper-linked to an article that had the character designer explaining that the decision was forced on him by the company ethics department in order to conform to 'Global Standards". Curious as to what "Global Standards" were, our crack team of fact checkers did a cursory search and lo-and behold it's a thing.

Interestingly, this policy was implemented by Sony in in 2018, which was about the same time that a wave of censorious shenanigans descended upon the internet in various places. That timeframe is significant because looking for info on "Global Standards"turned up this rather long but fascinating article at Medium, which deserves your full attention.

Let’s take this timeline for example; In, July of 2017, Stripe announces a partnership with Chinese Companies WeChat (Tencent) and AliPay. What happened less than a quarter of a year later? Well, Patreon (who as stated earlier relies on Stripe for processing), had their guidelines updated with further scrutiny paid to adult content, seemingly out of nowhere. As time went on, Patreon would be on and off with the adult content they allowed, eventually allowing it as long as the outward page being presented was not itself explicit. The NSFW community on the site was left in a cloud of doubt about what the official position was when it came to terms of service; much akin to what is currently happening on platforms like Steam. Are there any other examples of this, however? The archived list we used notes that Circle, which was at one point accepting of this content, apparently changed their mind.

This explains a couple of things like why Patreon and Tumblr suddenly got all wonky regards adult content and still can't seem to define it consistently. Note that Stripe, is believed to have been the payment processor mentioned in the Matt Christensen video and transcript of his interaction with Patreon customer service after the second series of their purges last year, and Stripe and PayPal attempted to shut down SubscribeStar when it presented itself as an alternative.

It gets worse...

  ...there’s been an oddly increasing number of incidents related to so-called "problematic content” being stripped from or outright barred from a number of sites. However, when looking into it deeper, there seems to be a simple, central trait shared by all of these incidents; Chinese Investment, or entrance into the Chinese Market. All of this also corresponds to reports that cross-border investment from China is reaching new levels, as there is proof of China actively attempting to move their money overseas. What’s terrifying about this revelation is, as you’ll see, the issue with censorship does not come simply from Chinese companies buying out firms so they can censor them; it comes, sometimes, from companies simply wanting to expand into the Chinese market themselves, and be compliant in doing so.

This,  of course has far worse implication than the silly notion that "Global" beauty standards are actually being set by insecure members of the CCP's "50 Cent Army".

The article goes on to discuss how this has affected Reddit, Discord, Tumbler, Apple, Google, You-Tube, Steam and the development of the Playstation4, before taking a deep dive into the Chinese influence on various payment processors, how this is tied to Xi Jinping's modern version of The Little Red Book and the dire implications of any TOS that has a "Reactionism" clause.

Also: Epic Games is cancer. (But we knew that)

Of course, this is not entirely the CCP's fault.

On one hand essentially, tech firms are bending over to please the ideals of the Xi Jinping Doctrine, in hopes of courting favor with the party — leading to their eventual approval to begin operations within China.

On the other hand, tech firms are pleasing the ideals of the Xi Jinping Doctrine — without being told to, simply because they already ideologically align.

Again; read the whole thing. Be warned, it's long. Medium estimates 30 minutes, but as I kept cross-checking stuff It took me a bit over 90. It was worth every minute. Joe B. did yeoman's work on this.

The payments processing situation with regard to free speech has been brought up a lot of late, but it bears repeating as it is beginning to look like this is the biggest issue facing freedom of speech.

This dovetails nicely into Dev's latest video...

...and should remind us that the Chinese social credit system is not just a problem for the Chinese people.

Note that the CTV article referenced in the video mentions that Libra will be backed by
  "bank deposits and government securities in currencies from stable and reputable central banks."

I'm pretty sure the U.S. isn't investing in this so I imagine those government securities will include a lot of Yuan.

Dev's video also clarifies a widespread misconception about Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, that EFF seems to share.

Anyway, watch the whole video, it's worth the 20 minutes.

Take heart; The situation is grim but not hopeless, and we are far better served to be aware of what's arrayed against us than to be ignorant of what lurks in the dark.

Also, I apologize to anybody, who, having read the first paragraph, read through the entire post thinking they were going to get boobs.

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