Have Chinese Interests Infiltrated Facebook?
Although globalization has some benefits, such as a greater basket of goods and services that citizens can enjoy along with the exchange of ideas, it does come with some bad effects. Namely, the importation of bad ideas such as the social credit system and potential subversive agents from peer competitors.
This case is most notable with regards to the U.S.’s relationship with China. Sohrab Ahmari of the New York Post wrote an article titled “Meet your (Chinese) Facebook censors” highlighting how Facebook has slowly but surely imported China’s social credit model. According to an exchange between Ahmari and a former Facebook insider, there are apparently at least half a dozen “Chinese nationals who are working on censorship”.
The Facebook source told Ahmari “So at some point, they [Facebook bosses] thought, ‘Hey, we’re going to get them H-1B visas so they can do this work.’ ”
The insider disclosed an internal directory of the team that handles the bulk of this work. Ahmari gave a brief overview of what this censorship team does:
It’s called Hate-Speech Engineering (George Orwell, call your office), and most of its members are based at Facebook’s offices in Seattle. Many have Ph.D.s, and their work is extremely complex, involving machine learning — teaching “computers how to learn and act without being explicitly programmed,” as the techy website DeepAI.org puts it.
The “teaching” involved in this process, has certain content pop at the top of a user’s Facebook feed, which allegedly gets Facebook’s software gatekeepers performance bonusess, according to the ex-insider. Similarly, this involves Facebook censors making sure that other content show “up dead-last.”
Ahmari cited the case of a New York Post article of the Biden family’s interactions with Chinese companies as one example of Facebook working to suppress the dissemination of controversial content that exposes the ruling class’s behavior.
The censorship Facebook engages is quite clever and not always apparent to the naked eye. The ex-insider detailed the following:
It all makes for perhaps the most chillingly sophisticated censorship mechanism in human history. “What they don’t do is ban a specific pro-Trump hashtag,” says the ex-insider. Instead, “content that is a little too conservative, they will down-rank. You can’t tell it’s censored.”
Ahmari did not name any of the employees at Facebook involved in the acts of censorship. He did, however, want to showcase “how foreign nationals from a state that still bans Facebook have their hands on the levers of social media censorship here in America.”
The op-ed editor of the New York Post claims that the Hate-Speech Engineering team’s staff consists of a research scientist “based at the Seattle office who earned his master’s degree in computer engineering from the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing, according to his LinkedIn profile.” He continued highlighting other employees who had connections to China:
Another member of the team, a software engineer for machine learning based in Seattle, earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in computer science from Jilin University in northeast China. Still another, an engineering manager, earned his bachelor’s in computer science at Nanjing University in eastern China.
Another software engineer previously worked for the Communist-backed conglomerate Huawei, as well as the Beijing National Railway & Design Institute of Signal and Communication.
It’s up in the air if these Chinese nationals are connected to the CCP and receiving direct orders from them. That said, it cannot be ignored that immigration gets geopolitical when countries use subversive elements to undermine other countries.
BLP has reported on extensive cases of Chinese nationals getting busted for corporate and military espionage. Politics does not end because of increased trade between nations via “free” trade deals. This is one of the many risks of open borders and uncontrolled globalization.
A balance must be made between economic dynamism and the maintenance of national security. To tackle this, the U.S. will need an immigration timeout to allow for immigration assimilation and uphold national security interests.