Marriott Freezes Social Media Accounts Around World on China Ban

The Verge: Marriott says it chose to stop posting on social media after China ban
Marriott International’s social media accounts across Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter have been dark since China accused the company of breaking a cybersecurity law and advertisement law on January 11th. The accounts have resumed posting within the past few hours, one week after they stopped.

The Shanghai government had shut down Marriott’s Chinese website and mobile app for a week as punishment for a Mandarin-language survey sent to customers that listed Tibet, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macau as separate countries, as reported by Reuters. There was backlash from the Chinese public as well. Marriott’s Instagram posts from a week ago are littered with comments like “get out of China” and “remember!people’s republic of china!only one!marriott hotels roll out of china!”
This isn't too different from how every company and individual are treated in the age of social media. The main difference is China focuses the outrage using state power. If everyone on Twitter gets outraged because a commercial is X, the company can fold or not. It probably won't hurt to fight in the long-run, although the company could become a permanent target of mob justice. It must use it as a marketing strategy once was is chosen (free advertising). Maybe "banned in China" might work with some products and services, or perhaps for someone with political ambition. Otherwise, individuals and companies can't go to war with China. Either they do and say as China tells them, or they leave the country. (Long time the past the time foreigners were made of sterner stuff, at least if they were British.)

As with the Twitter mobs (and Google employees) in America, this action by China comes from a position of weakness, not strength. Speaking a taboo thought is threatening because it's mostly backed by threats, not reality. In this case, China can claim Taiwan, but cannot be certain of enforcing its position. Tibet is more secure, but popular global opinion and NGO infiltration could make problems that China doesn't want. On the other hand, China is relatively secure otherwise. If you want to say Taiwan is a country and have no Chinese operations and don't export to China, they probably won't hound you. Whereas if you violate taboos in America, you must be destroyed because if people don't believe enforced orthodoxy, the whole house of cards comes crashing down. If James Damore said Taiwan is a country in China, they'd send him back to America. But if he says men and women are different in Silicon Valley, he must be blacklisted everywhere.

Finally, wait until nationalism kicks up a notch in the rest of the world and Twitter mobs are combined with state power. There has already been a football war, perhaps there will one day be a kinetic Twiiter war when social mood trends negative again.

No comments:

Post a Comment