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Panel-05: EXPLORING THE CHINESE INTERNET: TRUST WITHIN SYSTEMS OF SOCIAL MEDIA USE AND CONSUMPTION, AND MISTRUST OF THE SYSTEM IN INTERNATIONAL CYBERAFFAIRS
11:00am - 12:30pm
Session Chair: Ysabel Gerrard
Location:P505 (cap. 42)
EXPLORING THE CHINESE INTERNET: TRUST WITHIN SYSTEMS OF SOCIAL MEDIA USE AND CONSUMPTION, AND MISTRUST OF THE SYSTEM IN INTERNATIONAL CYBERAFFAIRS
Matthew Allen1, Jian Xu1, Weishan Miao2, Hongjun Zhu2, Qian Gong3, Danjing Zhang4, Jiandong Chen5, Fan Yang1
1Deakin University, Australia; 2Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, China; 3Curtin University, Australia; 4Melbourne Chinese Museum, Australia; 5Australian National University, Australia
This panel draws together four distinct investigations into the Chinese Internet which speak to the key problem of “trust in the system”, while also exploring the contradictions within a phrase such as "Chinese Internet".
Two of the four papers concern questions of cybersecurity. They explore how the risks associated with breaches of security constitute the Internet as a potentially
untrustworthy system which might empower national governments to act on behalf of the collective need for greater reliability, security, and freedom from harm. In both, trust is not only as an outcome but the conceptual place at which governments and citizens meet and understand their relative power. The other two papers concern the operation of trust (between friends, and between strangers, between individuals and systems) within Chinese social media and thus look inside the Chinese Internet to discern and explore the same complex issues of trust commonly found in research into Western internet users and experiences. Both find that trust is more complex than it first appears.
Whether in cybersecurity and the global development of “securitization” of the Internet, or in the small but important spaces of everyday connection through Chinese social media, trust matters – but it is not simply a case of seeking out trusted connections, nations or systems. Trust is as much a vector through which power is exercised and felt, as the thing which protects us from excessive power imbalances.