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TikTok在全球舞台强势崛起,但这也可能毁了它

  U.S. leaders have effectively kicked huawei and a number of Chinese technology monitoring companies out of the country, warning that installing chinese-made products in sensitive parts of the nation's electronic infrastructure poses a serious threat to national security and privacy.

  美国领导人已经实质上将华为和多家中国技术监控公司赶出了国门,并警告在国家电子基础设施的敏感部分安装中国制造的产品会对国家安全和隐私构成严重威胁。

  Now they are turning their worried attention to a new Chinese target: teenagers who sing and dance on TikTok.

  现在他们把担忧的目光投向了一个新的中国目标:在TikTok上唱歌跳舞的青少年。

  The New York times and other media reported last week that a secret federal commission focused on national security was reviewing TikTok's acquisition two years ago by a Chinese company called bytedance. Three senators have called on the trump administration to review potential national security and privacy threats posed by the app, warning that bytedance could remove content deemed objectionable to the communist party, such as video, which supports pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong.

  《纽约时报》及其他媒体上周报道,一个关注国家安全的秘密联邦委员会正在对两年前名为字节跳动的中国公司收购TikTok一事进行审查。三名参议员要求特朗普政府对该应用构成的潜在国家安全和隐私威胁进行审查,警告称字节跳动可能会删除令共产党不快的内容,比如支持香港民主抗议活动的视频。

  TikTok denies censoring political content. The app can be found supporting protesters and declaring "restore Hong Kong!" In the video.

  TikTok否认会审查政治内容。该应用上可以找到支持抗议者和宣称“光复香港!”的视频。

  But TikTok -- which probably has the app on her phone if you're the parent of a teenager -- is gaining traction in a region where it hasn't been before. Its unexpected rise is forcing americans to consider for the first time living in a world influenced by chinese-backed social media networks.

  但TikTok——如果你是一个十来岁孩子的父母,她手机上很可能就有这款应用——却在这个此前未曾涉足的地带大受欢迎。它出人意料的崛起,正迫使美国人第一次考虑生活在一个由中国支持的社交媒体网络影响的世界里。

  This has led the public to take a closer look at bytedance. It is not a branch of the communist party. Its success, however, owes much to its ability to navigate Beijing's political terrain and its knack for providing superficial entertainment that does not touch censorship.

  这使得公众更仔细地审视字节跳动。它不是共产党的分支机构。然而,它的成功在很大程度上归功于它摸清北京政治走向的能力,以及提供不会触动审查的肤浅娱乐的技巧。

  Indeed, zhang yiming, the company's founder, has echoed Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg's assertion that he runs a technology company, not a media company. But that hasn't stopped Facebook from influencing events around the world, with far-reaching and disturbing consequences.

  事实上,该公司创始人张一鸣曾附和过Facebook创始人马克·扎克伯格(Mark Zuckerberg)的说法,即他运营的是一家技术公司,不是媒体公司。但这并没有阻止Facebook影响世界各地的事件,并产生了深远而令人不安的后果。

  No Chinese technology company has been as successful on the global Internet as bytedance. Except among overseas Chinese, China's burgeoning social media platforms and wildly popular video apps have little impact elsewhere. At a time when some in Washington are trying to unravel the close economic ties between the United States and China, the two countries already live in separate worlds in cyberspace.

  没有哪家中国科技公司像字节跳动这样,能在全球互联网上取得成功。除了在海外华人中间,中国蓬勃发展的社交媒体平台和疯狂传播的视频应用在其他地方几乎没有影响力。在华盛顿的一些人正试图拆解美国与中国之间的紧密经济联系之际,两国在网络空间上已经生活在不同的世界。

  Yet even as the iron curtain of technology closed, TikTok emerged on the global Internet stage. TikTok has been downloaded nearly 1.5 billion times globally and 122 million times in the United States, according to data firm Sensor Tower.

  然而,就在科技铁幕合上的同时,TikTok却在全球互联网舞台上崛起。数据公司Sensor Tower数据显示,TikTok在全球和美国分别有近15亿次和1.22亿次下载量。

  That makes some in Washington uneasy. In letters to us intelligence officials, senators Chuck Schumer and Tom Cotton said the TikTok platform was "a potential target for foreign influence activities, like those conducted on us-based social media platforms during the 2016 election".

  这让华盛顿的一些人感到不安。在写给美国情报官员的信中,参议员查克·舒默(Chuck Schumer)和汤姆·科顿(Tom Cotton)表示,TikTok平台是“外国影响力活动的潜在目标,就像2016年大选期间在基于美国的社交媒体平台上实施的那些活动一样”。

  They and others pointed to recent articles claiming or suggesting that TikTok would delete the video of the Hong Kong protests.

  他们和其他人指出,最近有文章声称或暗示TikTok会删除香港抗议活动的视频。

  TikTok has rejected the allegations, saying it stores data on us users locally and "will not delete content on sensitive issues related to China".

  TikTok反驳了这些指控,称其在当地存储美国用户的数据,并且“不会删除中国相关敏感议题的内容”。

  The Chinese government has never asked us to remove any content, and if asked, we will not listen, the statement said. "That's it."

  “中国政府从未要求我们删除任何内容,并且如果被要求,我们也不会听从,”声明称。“就是这样。”

  The statement did not include extensive government pressure on domestic media companies. Chinese officials don't typically delete content directly, but instead set broad guidelines for media companies and let them censor themselves.

  这份声明未涵盖中国政府对国内媒体公司的广泛施压。中国官员通常不会直接删除内容,而是为媒体公司设定宽泛的准则,然后让它们自行审查。

  TikTok sometimes avoids uncomfortable topics altogether. When the app is downloaded in Hong Kong, its user guidelines prohibit politically relevant content and comments.

  TikTok有时会完全回避令人不适的话题。在香港下载这款应用时,从它的用户准则上可以看到禁止政治相关内容和评论的规定。

  After The Times raised questions, TikTok updated the guidelines, saying they should have been removed in May but reappeared due to errors. TikTok said its Hong Kong content review team was based partly in mainland China but was moving to Hong Kong and would follow the same rules the company had set elsewhere.

  在时报提出相关问题后,TikTok对该准则进行了更新,称其本应在5月份撤下,却因错误重新出现。TikTok表示,其香港内容审核团队部分设在中国大陆但正在迁往香港,并将遵循公司在其他地方制定的相同规则。

  Even so, TikTok's critics have failed to produce evidence that Beijing is using TikTok to promote political propaganda to young people or to abuse user data. That may not help its prospects in the U.S. market: the U.S. government has never produced evidence that huawei's equipment poses a security threat, but its equipment is still largely out of the telecom network.

  即便如此,TikTok的批评者还未能拿出证据,表明北京正利用TikTok向年轻人进行政治宣传,或在滥用用户数据。这对它在美国市场的前景可能并无帮助:美国政府从未拿出证据表明华为的设备构成安全威胁,但它的设备依然已经基本上被逐出了电信网络。

  Zuckerberg's company is busy copying TikTok, arguing that the chinese-owned app represents a competition of values.

  扎克伯格的公司正忙着模仿TikTok,他辩称这款中国人拥有的应用代表了一种价值观的竞争。

  Until recently, the Internet in almost every country except China has been defined by American platforms with strong values of free speech, he said in a recent Georgetown University speech, referring specifically to TikTok.

  “直到最近,除中国外几乎所有国家的互联网一直都被具有强烈的言论自由价值观的美国平台所定义,”他最近在乔治城大学(Georgetown University)的一次演讲中特别提到TikTok时说道。

  Of course, his company has tried to develop software that allows potential Chinese partners to block content they don't like. But the comments touch on a broader truth: in order to do business on the Chinese Internet, any Chinese company must obey the government's will, whether it wants to or not.

  当然,他的公司曾经尝试开发一种软件,可以让潜在的中国合作伙伴屏蔽他们不喜欢的内容。但这些言论触及了一个更广泛的事实:为了在中国互联网上开展业务,中国的任何企业都必须遵守政府的意志,不管它愿意与否。

纽约时报中英文网 http://www.qqenglish.com

  Bytedance is no exception. Zhang yiming, 29, founded the company in 2012. As a programmer geek, zhang yiming said that the day he received the tetris handheld game console in second grade was the happiest day of his life. In college, he was famous for his skills in repairing computers.

  字节跳动也不例外。2012年,29岁的张一鸣创办了这家公司。作为一个程序员极客,张一鸣说,小学二年级收到俄罗斯方块掌上游戏机那天,是他一生中最快乐的日子。在大学里,他在修电脑方面的技术很出名。

  Some Chinese have compared him to zuckerberg. Like the Facebook boss, Mr. Zhang has said that machines are better at spreading content than people. Bytedance launched toutiao, a popular news aggregation app in China that replaced its chief editor with software. In most cases, it gives users a headline based on what they clicked on earlier.

  有些中国人把他比作扎克伯格。和这位Facebook当家人一样,张一鸣也说过,在传播内容方面,机器比人做得更好。字节跳动推出了今日头条,这是一款在中国大受欢迎的新闻聚合应用,用软件取代了主编。大多数情况下,它会根据用户之前点击的内容为他们提供新闻标题。

  I can't accurately judge whether it's good or bad, elegant or vulgar, zhang yiming told a Chinese business magazine in 2016. "I may have my judgment, but I don't want to impose my judgment on the headlines."

  “我不能准确判断这个好还是坏,是高雅还是庸俗,”张一鸣在2016年接受一家中国商业杂志采访时说。“我也许有我的判断,但我不想强加我的判断给头条。”

  For many users, the system provides a steady stream of content based on what they've clicked on before: bikini photos, funny video, pet memes. Opposition soon emerged.

  对于很多用户来说,这个系统会根据他们之前点击过的内容提供一个稳定的内容流:比基尼照、搞笑视频、宠物米姆。很快就出现了反对的声音。

  Zhang yiming and his engineers are at the same time taming the machine to make it understand your heart better, wrote the blogger he jiayan. "Train you at the same time, make you more addicted to it."

  “张一鸣和他的工程师们,一边驯化机器,让它更懂你的心,”博主何加盐写道。“一边驯化你,让你更加沉迷于它。”

  TikTok and other bytedance apps have time management features that allow users and parents to set limits of 40, 60 or 120 minutes, a TikTok spokesman said.

  TikTok发言人说,该应用和其他字节跳动应用都有时间管理功能,允许用户和家长设置40、60或120分钟的限制。

  This algorithmically driven approach works well for bytedance. By the end of 2016, toutiao was the second-largest app in China, behind instant messaging app WeChat, in terms of how much time users spent on it each day, according to QuestMobile, a Chinese data company. Last year, the company raised a new round of funding from investors including SoftBank that valued it at $75 billion, making it one of the world's most valuable start-ups.

  这种算法驱动的方法对字节跳动来说效果上佳。根据中国数据公司QuestMobile的数据,到2016年底,按用户每天花在上面的时间来计算,头条成为中国第二大应用,仅次于即时通讯应用微信。去年,该公司从软银(SoftBank)等投资者那里获得了新一轮融资,估值达到750亿美元,成为世界上最有价值的初创企业之一。

  Toutiao also attracted the attention of lu wei, a high-ranking official who ruled China's Internet with an iron fist at the time, some industry executives said. When other Internet companies complained about headlines stealing their content, one of Mr. Lu's top aides told them that he liked headlines and that they should stop complaining and work with them. The executives spoke on the condition of anonymity because publicly discussing the work of China's censors would amount to corporate suicide.

  一些业内高管表示,今日头条也吸引了当时用铁腕统治着中国互联网的高官鲁炜的注意。其他互联网公司抱怨头条窃取他们的内容时,鲁炜的一位高级助手告诉他们,他喜欢头条,他们应该停止抱怨,与头条合作。由于公开讨论中国审查机构的工作无异于企业的自杀,这些高管要求匿名。

  Bytedance denies it has a relationship with or benefited from Mr. Lu. Lu wei resigned in mid-2016 and was sentenced to 14 years in prison this year for corruption.

  字节跳动否认与鲁炜有密切关系,也否认从鲁炜那里获得了好处。鲁炜于2016年年中辞职,今年因腐败被判处14年有期徒刑。

  Since then, the company has also run into trouble with censors. Bytedance and other star start-ups were punished in April 2018 for running "unhealthy" content. The company was ordered to shut down an app called "inside jokes" because of its vulgar jokes and video.

  之后,该公司也招惹了审查机构。2018年4月,字节跳动和其他一些明星初创企业因运营“不健康”内容而受到惩罚。该公司被勒令关闭一款名为“内涵段子”的应用程序,原因是其中有粗俗的笑话和视频。

  Mr. Zhang apologized, saying in a letter that he took responsibility for content that didn't conform to 'core socialist values.' He vowed to strengthen bytedance's party-building efforts and announced plans to strengthen the role of chief editor and expand its content review team from 6,000 to 10,000. Like other online media outlets, toutiao has begun to top stories about Chinese leader xi jinping.

  张一鸣表示道歉,在一封信中说,他对不符合“社会主义核心价值观”的内容负责。他发誓要加强字节跳动的党建工作,并宣布加强主编的作用,把内容审核团队从6000人扩大到1万人。和其他网络媒体一样,今日头条也开始把关于中国领导人习近平的报道置顶。

  His apology seems to have worked. Less than two weeks later, he delivered the keynote address at a technology conference hosted by the Internet regulator: bytedance's global expansion strategy.

  他的道歉似乎取得了不错的成效。不到两周,他就在互联网监管机构主办的一次科技大会上发表了主题演讲,题目是:字节跳动的全球扩张战略。

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