Writes: Aleksandar Obradović
How to ensure obedience to the state? In general, the most common attempt is the repression. But the Communist Party of China does not hesitate to think about the methods of the future.
China has made an application for a social network called Sesame Credit, which gives people the evaluation of how good citizens (good in this interpretation means obedient) they are. The application pulls data from the profiles on social networks, as well as information about their online purchases.
In the video, posted on the Extra Credits’s YouTube channel, it is shown an example of how it works: “For example, if you publish on your profile a picture of the Tiananmen Square, or share the link on the collapse of the Chinese stock market, your score the Credit Sesame will fall. But if you share a link on how the country’s economy is brilliant, your score increases.”
Similarly functioning and monitoring of online shopping – if you buy the products that the Party considers as desirable, such as work shoes, the score increases. If you buy something imported from Japan, your score goes down.
According to Extra Credits, application will have consequences in real life. High scores will bring benefits to “successful” users, such as making it easier to get the paperwork you need to travel or making it easier to get a loan. On the other hand, poorer “players” would potentially be penalized by slower internet or even denial of employment.
The system could also become a powerful tool for social conditioning, as users could lose points for having friends with low obedience scores. This will provide a system of control between friends, neighbors and relatives. Under such social pressure, many “rebellious” citizens risk to be socially (and politically) ostracized.
The application should become mandatory for all citizens by 2020, and, supposedly, Chinese citizens are already competing who will have a better score and put the results on Weibo, the Chinese counterpart of Twitter.