Vortrag: Assembling Social Credit Users: Honest Shanghai, Sesame Credit, and Performances of Morality

16.05.2018 | 12:00

Shazeda Ahmed (Berkeley) / Genia Kostka (Berlin)


Since 2014, Chinese information technology companies and a mix of municipal and provincial governments have been co-constructing China's social credit system: an effort to engineer trustworthiness in society through rewards and punishments. Some cities and provinces provide scores and ratings that reflect citizens' statuses based on the public and market information gathered about them. A subset of these pilots displays ratings to individuals via mobile phone applications, enabling them to unlock third-party benefits in exchange for high scores. Focusing on the Shanghai social credit app Honest Shanghai and on the commercial credit product Sesame Credit, this talk will explicate the model of the "user" each presents, the processes through which these users are evaluated, and finally the real-world outcomes of the assessments users receive. I will also draw from science and technology studies (STS) and the emerging literature on algorithmic regulation to trace the complex symbiosis between Chinese tech companies and the state in developing the technological infrastructure of social credit and the concept of the "credit city".

Shazeda Ahmed is a Ph.D. student in the School of Information at the University of California, Berkeley. Her research focuses on the Chinese social credit system, East and Southeast Asian information technology policies, and digital social sorting. She has worked as a researcher for the Citizen Lab, Mercator Institute for China Studies, Council on Foreign Relations, Asia Society, and for the Ranking Digital Rights corporate transparency review by New America.

Zeit & Ort

16.05.2018 | 12:00

Neubau "Holzlaube", Room 2.2051