A troubling trend is sweeping Silicon Valley—big tech acquiescing to digital authoritarianism to gain access to the Chinese market.
This follows Facebook’s decision months earlier to build a tool that allowed third-parties in China to suppress controversial content on its network.
Apple and Facebook, two of the most powerful companies in the world, have set dangerous precedents in these decisions that risk being followed both in and outside of the tech industry.
When big tech bends its principles to limbo into Chinese markets, it encourages other Western companies and institutions to do so as well.
The prominent publishing house recently removed hundreds of academic articles from the website of its publications China Quarterly and the Journal of Asian Studies, in response to Chinese authorities deeming them controversial.
At best, such decisions risk entrenching the status quo – China has already ranked as the lowest in the world in Internet freedom for two years running.