The New York Times magazine posts a fascinating feature on a Chinese cultural phenomenon known as human flesh search engines. Out of China has borne cyberposses, internet vigilantes, who target everybody from twisted individuals violating social norms to government corruption.
In the tradition of Stephen Chao's America's Most Wanted, the Chinese have put their own twist on the idea of society tracking down villains. It all began when a video of a middle-aged Asian woman stomping a kitten to death was posted to YouTube, horrifying Chinese viewers. Within six days, enough clues were extracted from the background to identify the killer. The first human-flesh search engine — Chinese: renrou sousuo yinqing — was formed. The exposed woman lost her job, and left town.
"The menacingly-named Human Flesh Search Engine has made headlines around the world, but it remains largely misunderstood and its deeper implications unexplored. Daedalum Films examines the origins of this Chinese Internet phenomenon, dissects its most dramatic cases, and asks the question: 'what can the Human Flesh Search Engine tell us about modern China?'"
Read More on the topic: Harnessing human search engines for government use.
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