The Download: China’s disinfection obsession, and US anti-disinformation board woes
In a one-minute video, three government workers dressed in hazmat suits spray disinfectant on the home of someone: under the TV, inside the fridge, and over the couch. Chinese people were worried on social media about whether their home would be treated the same way if they got the virus.
People outside of China have mostly stopped worrying about the possibility of catching covid from surfaces. Study after study has shown that the risk is low. But China seems to be stuck in an early-2020 time warp.
Its priority for disinfection is part a larger state-controlled narrative. It’s also playing into the country’s preferred narrative about covid’s origins : it could have been imported to Wuhan via frozen food. Read full story .
I’ve combed the internet to find you today’s most fun/important/scary/fascinating stories about technology.
1 The US anti-disinformation board has fallen victim to disinformation
In a way that underlines both the depth and scale of the problem. (WP $)
The board was criticized for failing to shed light on its goals. (Protocol)
2 Russian state TV wasn’t prepared for the war in Ukraine
Now it’s racing to fill schedules with Kremlin-approved propaganda. (New Yorker Ukraine’s data servers are crucial battlegrounds. (FT $)
Google’s Russian arm is filing for bankruptcy after local authorities seized its bank account. (FT $)
3 Enjoying the crypto crash? You are not the only one.
The ‘joy of missing out’ is very real right now. (The Atlantic $)
It’s okay to opt out of the crypto revolution. (TR)
The crash is unlikely to reduce its effects on climate change. (The Guardian)
The downfall of Luna is a cautionary tale for the crypto curious. (NYT $)
Panama’s president wants tougher anti-money laundering measures. (Bloomberg $)
4 China’s new censorship tactic is to reveal users’ locations
This is a deeply chilling development. (NYT $)
Defiant posts criticizing China’s government are being immortalized on the blockchain. (FT $)
Beijing is imposing a lockdown on its residents by stealth. (Foreign Policy)
5 Texas’ chaotic social media law will have disastrous consequences
Unmoderated social media might sound appealing in theory, but it’s horrific in practice. (Ars Technica)
The Buffalo shooting video demonstrates why content moderation matters. (WP $)
6 We may finally have the perfect use for graphene
Adding it to concrete could make stronger, greener buildings. (Economist $)
7 It’s actually pretty hard to spot a Twitter bot
But ironically, Elon Musk’s account is a giant magnet for them. (Wired $)
Here’s what would happen if Musk chose to walk away from buying Twitter. (WSJ $)
9 Robots probably aren’t going to take the jobs you think they will
Despite what Hollywood has told you. (New Yorker $)
10 Meet the YouTube thrillseekers riding roller coasters for a living
Letting us live vicariously through them. (Input)
Quote of the day
“We need doctors. Be a doctor!”
–YouTuber Logan Paul says he doesn’t think young people should aim to follow in his footsteps and become influencers, according to the Wall Street Journal.
I’m a journalist who specializes in investigative reporting and writing. I have written for the New York Times and other publications.