27 April 2007

I’ve had a MySpace profile for a while, that I never use and the friends I was supposed to use it to keep in touch with never hear from me on it and send me sarcastic messages I read 9 months later. I decided the new MySpace China launch was a good excuse to go in and add a bit of Chinese (but not talk to my friends - I’d feel like a tease).

First interesting thing was it was a pain in the ass to enter character content into fields through MySpace.com. All I got was a string of question marks, despite switching around character encodings. So that is annoying. So I edited the URL for my profile editing page from “.com” to “.cn” and lo and behold, I got the above terms and privacy agreement. I then tried making a dummie account on MySpace to see how I triggered this - I’m still not clear, because instead of giving me the interstitial agreement, it just gives me the .cn frontpage asking for a login. All the same, there is a migration system of some sort. The terms of use and privacy agreements seem more or less identical to the English ones, except the Chinese terms of use have added lines about following the State Secrets Law, impugning the “honor and interests” of the PRC and avoiding “cults and feudal superstition”.

Migrating my webpage to MySpace.cn results in two pages, but it’s not clear to what degree they are the same page. If I log into MySpace.com, I am not automatically logged into MySpace.cn. But if I make a profile change to MySpace.com, then it automatically appears in my MySpace.cn profile as well,and vice versa. Meanwhile, friends webpages, when viewed via MySpace.cn, have their profile categories in Chinese (女 instead of female). Now, my friends didn’t sign any terms of use agreements with .Cn. If one of them decides to post something that would normally be “cult activity” (use your imagination), do I lose a friend on MySpace.cn? Do they disappear? Is MySpace.cn going to virtually kidnap my overseas friends??? How precisely are they going to juggle this thing?

Let’s see what happens. I’ll add “Free Tibet” in Dallas to my .com list and see if she shows up on the Chinese side. Uh huh… yes, I really do… click… oh crap, she has to add me back before she appears on my site. I forgot. I have no time to wait for this nice lady. I don’t really have any such people as friends already… ugh, now I’ll have to delete her and she’ll get mad… I hate social networking.

Let’s try searching MySpace.cn for the Falun Gong. Right, that didn’t work. GFWed. OK, “Free Tibet”. That’ll never… sweet Avalokitesvara! Identical results in both .com and .cn?? This ain’t gonna last past beta, people. Of course, I hasten to point out, as I have in previous posts, that none of the “Free Tibet” pages appear to have any Chinese written on them. Way to be prepared guys. Let’s try some more prepared propagandists. “Nine commentaries”… 457 results! Let’s see, I can see this one, and this one… oh, oh, wait, I’ve gotten some kind of warning! Oh… it’s the maintenance warning. To be fair, I’ve seen that on the .com site the last few days (and not when viewing dastardly splittist cult MySpace pages). Oh god, I can see /RepublicofChina’s page discussing the nine commentaries?

Uh, Rupert and Wendi? Good frackin’ luck. This will just burn either way guys.

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