Whether it’s Instagram followers or likes on Facebook, the rise of social media has led many to factor its presence into their sense of self. Now, a new program in China set to roll out in 2020 is taking that to a whole new level.
The program seeks to incentivize good behavior by using records like traffic violations, blood donations, volunteer work and more to determine which citizens enjoy societal perks. Meanwhile, those whose ratings are too low risk losing air travel abilities and—in a particularly cruel move—getting their dog taken away.
The development has many Twitter users freaked out.
So dystopian and authoritarian as to defy belief: China will judge each of its 1.3 billion people based on their social behavior & adopt a lifelong points program that assigns personalized ratings by 2021. Via @business @clayroutledge https://t.co/GwArUtwOk0
— Nicholas A. Christakis (@NAChristakis) November 23, 2018
What the hell is going on in China?
— Barb Studebaker (@barbstudebaker) November 23, 2018
Holy crap……holy crap.
How soon before we have this proposed in the US?
— Brian Stuart (@OneMoreBrian) November 23, 2018
Millions of Chinese citizens have already been blacklisted from booking flights. By 2021, each of China’s 1.3 billion people are expected to have a social credit rating.
The policy echoes a plot of the dystopian episodic series Black Mirror, specifically the episode “Nosedive,” which sees citizens rating each other based on social interactions and content. The protagonist is barred from flying and from attending a wedding due to her rating being too low.
Twitter instantly began drawing parallels.
China now setting government policy based on Black Mirror episodes. https://t.co/Lnw7d4Oc9c
— Reza Aslan (@rezaaslan) November 23, 2018
— Jon Simons (@jonwsimons) November 24, 2018
When life starts imitating art we are in big trouble. pic.twitter.com/VpHQ1V1azb
— Andrea (@DissentNation) November 23, 2018
Sounds like that Black Mirror episode I watched…ohh I'm not alone. https://t.co/jfoykpNvuQ
— Truth & Integrity matter (@joysesq) November 24, 2018
The program is a few years before being fully enacted, but many seem in agreement that it only spells trouble for the citizens of China.