A video that bears a striking resemblance to a deleted scene from Black Mirror is circulating online. It features Chinese streamers who appear to have gathered beneath a bridge to manipulate an algorithm. But is it truly a dystopian scenario?
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What Chinese Streamers Are Doing There?
Chinese streamers have been seen conducting live streams under bridges, not due to any economic difficulties or because it’s a fashionable trend in the country, but for a specific reason. As seen in images posted on social media, well-equipped Chinese streamers can be found sitting under bridges and starting their live streams as though they were in their own homes.
Today's Taste of Cyberpunk:— Naomi Wu 机械妖姬 (@RealSexyCyborg) February 11, 2023
Hard times for e-thots🥺 pic.twitter.com/iuz1Bi10uZ
Why Are They Beneath a Bridge?
The pictures reveal Chinese women sitting beneath a bridge, but not just any bridge. These streamers seek bridges in affluent neighborhoods for a particular reason. Several Chinese users have shared their insights on social media to reason why they are doing this. Naomi Wu, a Tech YouTuber with over 1.6 million subscribers came first and tweeted to throw light on many questions were arising around this incident. She said that streamers are messing with the location feature,” as streaming platforms allow users to search for content locally. And in China, VPN tools are banned and highly prohibited hence these streamers found their own way to reach their audience. If they stream in or near richer neighborhoods then they can get higher donations due to perceived transmitter availability.
J/K What's going on is they are gaming the location feature. Streaming platforms allow users to search locally- wealthier neighborhoods mean much higher donations because of the perceived availability of the streamer. Also we just like groups and company- and they co-lab😁 pic.twitter.com/8LKMipfl1r— Naomi Wu 机械妖姬 (@RealSexyCyborg) February 11, 2023
According to an expert streamer, the algorithm of some streaming apps raises visibility in high purchasing power areas or if the streamer is located in such an area. This is why Chinese streamers living under bridges in affluent areas are trying to gain the attention of high-income groups to receive larger donations than they would in low-income areas.
People’s Reaction Over This
Various conversation groups have been established on Reddit regarding these events. Some users highlight that social media and applications are managed differently in China, while others point out that it is not unique to China and that “it’s more or less the same code making the location.”
How do the rich fall for the perceived availability thing when they know they are sitting in the street just for the purpose of gaming the location feature?— Ian Pierre (@IanPierreGS) February 14, 2023
Different people have different opinions and so all the comments under these posted videos were funny.
They are slave of the search by location then. Shut down the search by location, it will send them back home to continue their business in a warm, clean, secure and healthy environment. Am I right?— ndodot 💬 (@nododot) February 12, 2023
It may seem bizarre to outsiders that Chinese streamers gather beneath bridges to live stream for high-income individuals. However, as the internet grows more expansive and ubiquitous, algorithms have become the driving force behind online visibility and monetization. Therefore, it’s not surprising that individuals are seeking ways to game these systems to their benefit.