A video that looks very much like a Black Mirror outtake is making the rounds online, as it shows dozens of Chinese streamers gathered under a brige to allegedly game an algorithm. But is it really dystopian?
Naomi Wu, who first shared the video, did quip that “I like how the comment breakdown is mostly
Guys: Dystopia! Black Mirror!
Girls: Wait a minute, me and 20 girlfriends can dress nice, sit in the street singing songs and keeping each other company and no ones going to bother us? AND we make money?”
According to the description shared by her on Twitter and picked up on Reddit, the people in the video are “streamers working under an overpass in a wealthy neighborhood to game location-based search and algorithms, in hopes of more and higher donations”.
Since VPNs are heavily restricted in China and apps ping cell-phone towers to get a location, it would be an explanation as to why so many streamers were gathered in one place.
Then again, the video does not have much context to it and could simply be a video taken from a special event – not proof that streamers and influencers would go to extreme lengths to find an audience.
While the video quickly went viral, the claim that the influencers in the video gathered there to game the location algorithm of streaming apps could not be verified by anyone so far.
Contacted for more details by a reporter from Datenschleuder, a Chaos Computer Club Magazine, the original poster replied that “I don’t stream in China so I’m not in a position to definitely answer questions about it but I’ll ask around if anyone else is interested”.
Considering that her initial Twitter thread contained multiple photos and details about the marketing tactics allegedly used by Chinese streamers, it’s curious that Wu claimed not to have particular insight into the practice.
For context, Naomi Wu is a top influencer in the world of tech and a cyberpunk icon. She rose to fame first through her incredible technology-related video content. Initially an influencer known for DIY tech projects and ingenious gadgets for women, Wu gained mainstream awareness after becoming a victim of a harassment campaign targeting her.
Wu did not share where she got the video with the influencers under an overpass from but she did engage with people curious about it in subsequent replies. If you want to get more context about this viral video, unfortunately that thread is the only available information source so far, so maybe you should take the description with a grain of salt.
We’ll update this story if and when more details if more sources can corroborate the claim that influencers do indeed “huddle” together outdoors in the hopes of spoofing their location to influence social media algorithms.
*Top images from Naomi Wu’s Twitter account