Will Oremus @WillOremus Oh-REE-mus. Senior writer for OneZero (@ozm) covering platforms, algorithms, privacy, and online speech. Raising Delawareness since 2018. DM for Signal. Oct. 09, 2019 1 min read

I wrote about how tech companies need a China policy now, whether they like it or not.  https://onezero.medium.com/china-is-forcing-tech-companies-to-choose-between-profits-and-free-speech-aed1f4db3a4 

Last week, Apple rejected a Hong Kong maps app that let protesters track police. Critics speculated Apple was trying to appease China, but lacked proof.

Yesterday, Apple approved the app on appeal, and Chinese state media blasted the company. So, yeah.  https://onezero.medium.com/china-is-forcing-tech-companies-to-choose-between-profits-and-free-speech-aed1f4db3a4 

The pressure on U.S. tech companies that do business in China, like Apple and Blizzard, is obvious.

But even platforms that are already banned in China are affected by its projection of power, in a way that's more subtle but no less consequential...

A lesson of the Morey and Blitzchung affairs is that China now exerts influence over what people *outside* of mainland China can say on *non*-Chinese platforms, like Twitter and Twitch, even if those platforms exercise no such restrictions themselves.  https://onezero.medium.com/china-is-forcing-tech-companies-to-choose-between-profits-and-free-speech-aed1f4db3a4 

I think it's important in reporting on China's rising power over U.S. firms and people to avoid a good-vs.-evil frame. The world, including China, has long been subject to the global projection of American interests, for good and ill. Now there's a second superpower on the scene.

That said, this is not an excuse for moral relativism. Companies caving to government pressure to quash individuals' legitimate political speech is craven and disgusting no matter what government it is, or how powerful. It's not OK and they should not be let off the hook. (FIN)

Even just faving a pro-Hong Kong tweet can now have serious implications for your career.


You can follow @WillOremus.



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