Tom Cruise has gone viral. Is him playing golf in the video? Yes and No. It turns out to be a computer-generated figure just with Tom’s look. It is astonishingly real, isn’t it? We may regard Photoshop as an insane invention, but technology outperforms itself again. However, is this benignant or subversive?
-Fraud (wire fraud and Internet Fraud)
Altered images and videos can be identified by naked eyes or computer programs, but voices on the phone might be tricky.
The last thing you would want to see is the combination with political issues and deep-learning AI.
One risk is identity theft. Not necessarily to a legal extent. Sometimes not recognized by humans or algorithms
Mahmud and Sharmin (2021) :
"The another most malicious use of Deepfake is to exploit world leaders and politician by making fake videos of them and sometimes it could have been great risk for world peace."
van Dijck and Poell (2013):
"Social media platforms, like mass media, handle a variety of online systems for rating, polling, and surveying user responses; but beyond expressly triggered responses, platforms ostensibly have the capacity for polling built into their architecture. Facebook and Twitter increasingly wield their potential to mine online social traffic for indicators of trending topics, keywords, sentiments, public viewpoints, or frequently shared and liked items. Microblogging tool Twitter, more than any other platform, promotes itself as an echo chamber of people's opinions, even positioning itself as a replacement of offline opinion polls.
The idea that social media are neutral, unmediated spaces is an important assumption ingrained in many definitions of data flows. Part of social media's logic lies in the assertion that data are "raw" resources merely being "channelled" through online veins, allowing researchers to perform "opinion mining" or "sentiment analysis" . Twitter supposedly measures informal sentiments, feelings, or underbellies of "the people" at a stage when they are still in the process of becoming "official" public opinion."
-Fake social network accounts
Many SNS accounts may be fabricated for trolling and cyberbullying. Some fans are crazy, who may occupy the first lines of comment board and blindly praise the one they follow, and launch large-scale attacks towards anyone who disagrees.
The computer program to generate voice, images, and motion pictures are advancing nearly on a daily basis: Goodfellow GAN programme
"Deepfakes are hyper-realistic videos digitally manipulated to depict people saying and doing things that never happened. Deepfakes are created using AI, that is, Generative Adversarial Networks (GANs) that pit discriminative and generative algorithms against one another to fine-tune performance with every repetition."
Except the legal issues that may occur, unethical use of Deepfake has already happened.
Mahmud and Sharmin (2021):
"Most common use of Deepfake technology is to make pornography of well known actress"
-improve resolution of compromised visual documents
revolution in entertainment industry
Mahmud and Sharmin (2021):
"Advertising and business purposes too. Technologists now are using the Deepfake to make copy of famous artwork such as creating video of famous Monalisa artwork using the image."
4) anti-deepfake technology that includes deepfake detection, content authentication, and deepfake prevention."
Gillespie, T. 2010. The politics of ‘platforms’. New Media & Society. 12(3), pp.347–364.
Güera, D. and Delp, E.J. 2018. Deepfake Video Detection Using Recurrent Neural Networks In: 2018 15th IEEE International Conference on Advanced Video and Signal Based Surveillance (AVSS)., pp.1–6.
Humphreys, A. and Grayson, K. 2008. The Intersecting Roles of Consumer and Producer: A Critical Perspective on Co-production, Co-creation and Prosumption: Intersecting Roles of Consumer and Producer. Sociology Compass. 2(3), pp.963–980.
Korshunov, P. and Marcel, S. 2019. Vulnerability assessment and detection of Deepfake videos In: 2019 International Conference on Biometrics (ICB)., pp.1–6.
Mahmud, B.U. and Sharmin, A. 2021. Deep Insights of Deepfake Technology : A Review. arXiv:2105.00192 [cs].
Ritzer, G. and Jurgenson, N. 2010. Production, Consumption, Prosumption: The nature of capitalism in the age of the digital ‘prosumer’. Journal of Consumer Culture. 10(1), pp.13–36.
van Dijck, J. and Poell, T. 2013. Understanding Social Media Logic [Online]. Rochester, NY: Social Science Research Network. [Accessed 3 December 2021]. Available from: https://papers.ssrn.com/abstract=2309065.
Westerlund, M. 2019. The Emergence of Deepfake Technology: A Review. Technology Innovation Management Review. 9(11), pp.39–52.
Rethink Sexual Offences: Similarities Among Cases of Kris Wu, Harvey Weinstein and "Black Box"
When I reviewed Kris Wu's case, I recalled a book called Black Box by Shiori Ito, who is also a rape survivor. I cannot help notice the consistency of sexual allegations regardless regions, cultures and social status.
I'll Show You
Wu’s case reminds me of Shiori Ito, who is a journalist coming from New York, writer and documentary filmmaker, best known for her book Black Box (2017) based upon her own experience of rape, and the documentary Japan's Secret Shame(2018) released on BBC. Despite the reginal, cultural, and social differences, these two incidents share astonishing similarities, stemming from gender inequality and the assumption that women are a prey or a servant.
First, both Ito and Du are targeted by sex predators because of appearances, when Wu surveyed social media networks and Noriyuki Yamaguchi met Ito at a bar when she worked part-time as a waitress. Second, predators express superficial appreciation of the online profiles, mostly from social media sites. For example, Yamaguchi found one of the articles by Ito online (She is a journalist, and of course she has written things and published them.), and Wu browsed the Du’s selfies on her Weibo page, saying “You look so lovely and innocent in the pictures”.
Third, predators from a relatively higher social status offer opportunities to them, as the excuse for a second meeting. Wu, as a huge celebrity, promised Du a role in his music video atter knowing Du studied acting at university and hoped to be an actress, and Yamaguchi, then as a senior executive and experienced editor in Tokyo Broadcasting System (TBS) at New York, provided internships for Ito after he heard of Ito’s dream of being a journalist from previous conversations.
More importantly, both cases mention intoxication and suspected use of illegal drugs in closed settings. Reasons are simple, offenders can avoid camera captures in case of future allegations, commit a crime without physical struggles and fights, and made “accessible” deceptions afterwards.
Repercussions in Japan are rather mixed. Surprisingly, one female employee in the documentary states that she feels shameful for Ito sharing private issues in the public and deems Ito as a brazenfaced liar after getting the job opportunity. In other interviews and speeches, Ito says “I felt lonely” when she pinpoints serious social issues and speaks for the vulnerable, while some women disparage and attack her.
Predators such as Wu and Yamaguchi can be a “pro” in some way because they are aware of psychological weaknesses, legal loopholes, and keep practicing the trick.
Social status and resources are used as a leverage. They know they look powerful, and inexperienced targets are less likely to question the motives when invited to private places. On the contrary, potential victims probably regard these as perfect showcasing opportunities and even feel honoured when selected by significant figures.
The supplementary tool is alcohol and drugs, which will comprise the functions of cerebral cortex in brain, so that people may be vulnerable to poor thinking, irrational decision-making, and memory loss. Let alone teenagers who have underdeveloped frontal lobes and cannot make right judgement even if sober (Schacter et al., 2011, p.103).
Meanwhile, the evidential burden is apparent. Namely, there may not be sufficient evidence for court to consider (Keane and Davidson, 2018, p.85), especially in terms of sexual offenses. For example, forensic evidence (Keane and Davidson, 2018, p.141), may be washed discarded out of victims’ shame of or memory loss, such as seminal stain on skin and underwear, which are true with Du and Ito. Besides, corroboration is less accessible because offenses happen privately without any witnesses and video records.
The worst scenario is that the competency of witnesses will be questioned if they are suffering from mental illness (Keane and Davidson, 2018, p.33), such as other victims in Wu’s case who are underage and said to be diagnosed with severe depression and anxiety.
Star Trek vs. Star Wars: Have You Ever Been Fanatical?
Have you been a fan? Perhaps the craziest and even the most irrational ones? Have you ever defended the person you adore to become aggressive?
Spice Up Your Life
Psychologically, it makes sense. It is natural for humans to form emotional attachment to a person, an object and even a story. More often than not, our conceptions and actions are concomitanat with visual impacts (Schacter et al., 2011, p.80).
Also, finding like-minded people gives us sense of belonging and forge a community. Peoplple snowball the connections from a minimal object into interweaven networks (Rainie and Wellman, 2012, p.19). Isn’t just so wonderful when you find someone, or many of them, just as “quirky” as you are? You feel so assured and comfortable when you do not need to hide real opinions to merge, and confident to talk about “Live long and prosper” (Schacter et al., 2011, p.540-542).
Economically, it is beneficial. Capitalism implements your illusions and profit from them. It turns out there is a model of navigating popularity to maximize the margins. Males with invertedly triangular physique and symmetrically facial features are more likely to be favoured (Schacter et al., 2011, p.540-542).
Social media has indeed enhanced the connection between followers and public figures, purposefully or accidentally. Celebrities create the impression and receive feedback from the audience, and manage the persona. Marketing on social media, thus, is prioritised in those celebrities’ agenda, which is so specified that each different platform is assigned to sperate films with delicately altered content, to better target the audiences. For example, Instagram may be image-dominated, perfect for promotional use such as newly released albums and films; YouTube is more inclined to personal stories, where mundane life details are shared in a way of “vlog”. One of the best marketing cases would be BTS, a Korean boy band has seized the perfect opportunity.
However, aesthetic values are fluid from person to person, and can even cause dispute. Interestingly, the bigger the similarity between two communities, the bigger the disagreement. Star Trek and Star Wars possess worldview and character settings when amateurs like me can barely tell the differences. But praising Star Wars is regarded as an offense by Trekkies.
In a holistic picture, aesthetics has not only individual variances but chronological ones. Body shapes indicative of more resources are popular. To be specific, in the time of food shortage, obese ones are popular such as “Dad-bods”; in peaceful times, muscular guys are preferred, suggesting the time and money invested. In current context, properly fit bodies are still popular, but what is added is the “immature image”. Men who are much younger, clear-shaven and relatively slimmer, and sometimes vulnerable are stealing our ladies’ attention. Perhaps because of the rise of feminism, men do not need look exaggeratedly strong as a protector, and could be in need of protection.
By the way, I am a die-hard Harry Potter fan have never seen any episodes of Star Trek or Star Wars. I still feel lucky and grateful when I entered the cinema for Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.
Schacter, D.L., Gilbert, D.T. and Wegner, D.M. 2011. Psychology 2nd ed. New York, NY: Worth Publishers.
Rainie, H. and Wellman, B. 2012. Networked: the new social operating system. Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press.
What is the motto of this week? Never break up with Taylor Swift, otherwise you will be in the song played on all media platforms. A ten-minute MV, longer than any other one, is just chiding “someone” although not explicitly. We all know it is you, Jake. Come on!
In the mini film, the man (let’s just call him Jake anyway) keeps showing control by dropping the girl (Taylor) ‘s hand and snapping her. He is mansplaining and gaslighting.
Mansplaining is ” to explain something to a woman in a condescending way that assumes she has no knowledge about the topic” (Merriam Webster, 2018). Namely, someone (mostly man) gives instructions as if the listener does not know, to highlight his authority instead of offering sincere help. Any recollection of the feeling when your boyfriend is blabbing about why women do not need to use tampons in front of you? Or the scenario in the video when Jake re-defines how Taylor SHOULD feel (“pissed off” “absolutely selfish”) although she is just upset. Right there!
This pre-assumed superiority has its historical origin. In old times, men were the ones who received education and functioned as breadwinners. No wonder they believe women always need their guidance and help. Also, this is the moment when men’s ego exceeds self, where “self-subjective sense” (Goffman, 1972, p.86) crosses the boundaries of true capacity.
However, females can go to universities and have a decent career while accumulating skills and underpinning their own “territoriality” (Goffman, 1972, p.86). Viola, here is a clash!
However, mansplainers are not necessarily males because it generally represents a gesture of dominating the conversation from a position of power (or an illusion of it). Women can sometimes be mansplaining, as long as they break the ceiling. Also, it does not mean that anyone giving information is mansplainer. No matter the information is wrong or accurate, The way is the key. Obviously, you cannot reaproach your male maths teacher for “mansplaining” algebra.
Another point is gaslighting. It means psychological manipulation, during which victims lose the "confidence and self-esteem" and keep questioning themeselves (Merriam-Webster, n.d.).The reason I talk about these two topics together is that they are a medley of playboys’ tricks and both of them stem from women's delusional trust on men.
Unfortunately, inequality is just so real, and the society agrees with it.
Oh my god, she’s insane, she wrote a song about me
In day-to-day application, this behaviour means “reconstruction-denial-blame”. In the film Gaslight in 1944, Gregory (the husband) reconstructs for Paula (the wife) what is a dim or bright gas-fuelled light based on his comments instead of Paula’s own sight. When Paula finally starts doubts her own cognition and turns to Gregory for confirmation, Gregory denies her thoughts and then blames her for being insane. Thus, Paula keeps reinforcing the self-doubt circle.
The delicate techniques are played too subtly to be noticed. Actually, they are classic manoeuvres of hasty generalisations and red herring fallacies. For one thing, one single mistake does not make Paula a psycho. For another, if Paula is mentally ill, the conversation should focus on her mentality rather than blaming her.
It is also true with All Too Well. In the fight scene, Jake re-defines “anger” by saying “Why are you pissed off?” . The best part is the apology that follows. In this way, Jake is able to keep Taylor mildly destabilised at his hand, from sorrow and doubt to shame.
Both Paula and Taylor think highly of their partners, for no grounded reasons.
I’ll get older but your lovers stay my age
Unfortunately, inequality is just so real, and the society agrees with it. Older men use their age, status and information as a leverage. Somehow, people stop doubting about older men dating much younger girls, and even enjoy seeing it. As far as I am concerned, Jake is not the only man in showbiz who like younger ladies.
I knew I'd curse you for the longest time
We have to face it and fight it. Someone may ask "Does it matter ven after ten years?" The answer is a resounding "yes". That rage is worth remembering bacause that is where feminism strats.
Goffman, E. 1972. Relations in public: microstudies of the public order. London: Penguin Books
Kris Wu, Kris Who: A Glance at Online Rape Culture
Kris Wu, Chinese-Canadian singer/actor/producer, pleaded guilty of sexual allegations. A pop star used social media to prey on underage girls.
The whole case peaked when one of the victims Miss Du, Meizhu released a long Weibo post on 18th July, 2020 accusing Kris Wu, once a superstar, of drugging, seducing and harassing, after the incident had brewed online for months. Audiences were astonished that a man of dreams turned out to be a cunning liar and habitual criminal. Meanwhile, we also notice that young ladies could be such an easy quarry of men, and the Internet may worsen it.
First, the huge gap between stage and backstage is startling. Viewers may understand that celebrities may not as perfect as shown on social media because people at work are somehow different from them in personal life. Even so, Kris Wu was still an eye-opener. To be specific, his talent for music, film performance and even good manners are mostly fabricated by his producers, editors and public relationship team.
Instead of getting indulged in the performance, he is utterly aware of the fake act (Goffman, 1990, p.28), and the corresponding benefits. He is despicable enough to locate emotionally immature and vulnerable subjects through social media such as Weibo (similar to Twitter) and Tantan (similar to Tinder), because their profiles are just accessible and even detailed on the webpage. Meanwhile, he weaved his front into women’s expectations, revealing himself as lonely, harmless and even sensitive Prince Charming. It is precisely the “consistency between appearance and manner” the audience hope to validate (Goffman, 1990, p.35). Adults may be fooled, let alone teenage girls.
What Do You Mean
Second, gender inequality is aggravated. Does patriarchy still exist in the 21st century? Sadly, it does when the vulnerable might be exploited even more. Miss Du was at least deluded by 3 different sides. At first, Kris Wu (30) promised her a serious relationship and a leading role in a music video to “rationalise” the harassment. Then Mr. Xu (31), a registered sex offender and the online content contributor who helped her edit the post, labelled Du as a liar but himself a hero saving a damsel in distress. What’s more, Mr. Liu (23), an Internet fraud, attempted to swindle the compensation fee (2 million RMB, or £ 231,556) out of Miss Du. At this stage, we did not yet include the misdoing from Wu’s staff members as pimps, or cyberviolence from Wu’s irrational fans.
Those in a position of power still abuse the power.
Have things changed? Not really. Those in a position of power still abuse the power. Men with some resources lure the less advantaged groups with opportunities. Young ladies may lack money, connections and key information (most importantly!), so as to walk into a trap without realizing it. Wu is just among the “participants utilizing dramaturgical strategies in order to achieve their objectives of causal sex with hot girls” (Anahita, 2020, p.183). To some point, he is worse because he aimed only at weak targets in glittering camouflage.
Miss Du has to face more than lies right after turning 18. Going public as a rape victim or rape survivor is still regarded mortifying, which is also known as victim blaming or slut-shaming. Females should look sexually desirable without potentially ruining their reputation (Richard and Couchot-Schiex, 2020, p.27). If not, you are not a perfect victim so that some fanatical trolls online may say “You deserve that because you have selfish motivations of fame or money”. Since when, victims need disciplines rather than perpetrators?
I'll Show You
However, we still have hope because #MeToo is happening. Thanks to Du’s bravery and resilience, other victims stood out and more people have paid attention. Over 20 young girls who received similar “invitations” from Wu and his staff posted screenshots of WeChat and Weibo conversations, to unmask the performer, to make a stance and to unite.
More and more netizens reposted with related hashtags on social media, out of empathy, “outrange at the pervasiveness of rape culture”, “a desire to challenge rape myths that deny recognition for many victims”, and “a sense of generating communities of care” (Mendes and Ringrose, 2019, p.48).
Anyway, justice was done when Kris Wu was arrested under criminal charges and the scammer (Liu) for fraud, the liar (Xu) was expelled from the Internet, although Miss Du is still owed an apology. The society is getting better and women can make a difference.
I used Justin Bieber's song names as subheadings, because it occurred to me that he and Kris Wu have a lot in common, who are both Canadian musicians, young and rich, and once involved in scandals and complicated romantic relationships. However, Kris Wu is talentless and irresponsible. This is me talking about the case in Chinese on my personal channel:https://www.bilibili.com/video/BV1GP4y147Ua/
Anahita, S. 2020. The Drama of Predatory Heteromasculinity Online In: D. N. Farris, D. R. Compton and A. P. Herrera, eds. Gender, Sexuality and Race in the Digital Age [Online]. Cham: Springer International Publishing, pp.171–185. [Accessed 7 November 2021]. Available from: http://link.springer.com/10.1007/978-3-030-29855-5_10.
Goffman, E. 1990. The presentation of self in everyday life 1. Anchor Books ed., rev. ed. New York: Anchor Books.
Mendes, K. and Ringrose, J. 2019. Digital Feminist Activism: #MeToo and the Everyday Experiences of Challenging Rape Culture In: B. Fileborn and R. Loney-Howes, eds. #MeToo and the Politics of Social Change [Online]. Cham: Springer International Publishing, pp.37–51. [Accessed 7 November 2021]. Available from: http://link.springer.com/10.1007/978-3-030-15213-0_3.
Richard, G. and Couchot-Schiex, S. 2020. Cybersexism: How Gender and Sexuality Are at Play in Cyberspace In: D. N. Farris, D. R. Compton and A. P. Herrera, eds. Gender, Sexuality and Race in the Digital Age [Online]. Cham: Springer International Publishing, pp.17–30. [Accessed 7 November 2021]. Available from: http://link.springer.com/10.1007/978-3-030-29855-5_2.
Zeng, J. 2019. You Say #MeToo, I Say #MiTu: China’s Online Campaigns Against Sexual Abuse In: B. Fileborn and R. Loney-Howes, eds. #MeToo and the Politics of Social Change [Online]. Cham: Springer International Publishing, pp.71–83. [Accessed 7 November 2021]. Available from: http://link.springer.com/10.1007/978-3-030-15213-0_5.
This is Dan starting a blog about digital sociology. I will try to contribute to this site regularly and mindfully although this is one of the assessments of my programme.
Let me talk about myself. I am currently studying MSc Digital Sociology in University of Edinburgh (2021 fall). Honestly, this will be my second Master.
I acquired my BA in Engilsh from China, where I was born and bred. And then I furthered the studies in University of Leeds for MA in International Journalism and graduated in 2016.
After the 2 degrees, I thought I might start working perhaps because being acadeic just meant endless reading lists at that time for me. And I returned to China.
During the following years, I was a frequent job-hopper though, I once worked as a news analyst, English teacher and even a part-time subtitle translator with changing accommodations at the same time, including Beijing, Inner Mongolia and Guangzhou.
I am grateful that I have met many kind and generous poeple through all the way. However, several shifts between campus and workplace have made me realise that academic environment may be more suitable, along with the familarity to the UK. That is why I am here again.
Insterstingly, 2 of my previous students also attended Edinburgh as undergraduates. They used to be my students but are my Uni mates!