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Busted for insufficient social credit

China is forging ahead with several innovative trends in e-commerce and social media that are having significant effects on the lives of its netizens. The country is tracking of its citizens’ behavior via the Internet (and CCTV cameras). There are now increasingly significant additional costs for violators of small-time crimes and those involved in other activities deemed to be “unsociable”.


Some 23 million Chinese have been blacklisted from buying airplane or train tickets for engaging in what the government deems to be anti-social behavior, which can include anything from smoking on trains to letting pet dogs run free in areas where they should be leashed, to using outdated tickets on public transport or not paying taxes. Spreading fake news can also get you “discredited”, which in a society that relies heavily on censorship and propaganda can lead to a lot of grey areas.


Simply unsocial behavior


One particularly cringe-worthy example of dubious digital behavior was entertainer Cai Xukun’s over-the-top efforts to make his new song go, go, go viral. Although already a member of popular boy band Nine Percent, Cai vastly inflated the number of times his new song “Wait, Wait, Wait” had been shared on social media site Weibo. While the song may not have the cool factor of a banned book generating its own special-edition PR, if the stunt leads to more people listening to the song, well, there you go. But it’s not the kind of technique likely to be useful more than once.


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