- "Censorship" (loosely defined)
- China (vs India vs a US company, which could really be its own point)
But if you read the article it seems to be a logical decision. Google (likely) did something similar for zoom: https://www.androidpolice.com/2020/03/24/zooms-android-app-r...
Assuming there's nothing left out by the author, I don't really think there's anything newsworthy here, just something that google did that aligns with its past actions (not to say it doesn't belong on HN)
> I'm sure Google is planning to release a time machine which can manage the tracking of tasks that I just worked on last year.
> I can't tell if it's a "Google Timemachine" or a "Google Tracking App". If they release a "Time TimeMachine", this is a killer feature that will have a huge impact on how people interact with their time. I would be interested to know if this also means that you can just add a "Time TimeMachine" that will do some tracking on the number of meetings you have, or if I want to track your "time."
lol. It's almost as if the entire reason that China is not a backward stagnant economy is because they allowed people to own things, on their own. But here we'll just close our eyes and pretend that didn't happen.
That 'all large Chinese companies are controlled to a greater or lesser degree by the state' - is a matter of fact highly suppressed and obfuscated by the state for purposes of aggressie control and statecraft.
Nobody cares that much that there's a degree of 'central planning' to grow the Chinese economy.
People care a lot that Huawei states they are 99% employee-owned, but in reality we don't really know who actually holds the power and that it seems more likely that the state has deep levers of control.
It would be more transparent to just accept that Zoom and TikTok can and will be used as tools of the CCP.
As far as Google and reviews ... it's going to be important that they remain very transparent and above board in such issues given all of the relevant factors.
Google doesn't even have access to China so there's no financial motivation.
It wouldn't be a stretch to assume there's something going on behind the scenes that China could use to force Google's hand. I'm not saying that's what happened but that is a possible response I was thinking about when writing my original comment.
Google still doesn't have access to China and even if they tried it again, the employees would leak and stop it again.
> On Friday, BJP MP from Sultanpur and an animal activist, Maneka Gandhi, took to Twitter to slam the Head of TikTok for refusing to delete videos depicting animal cruelty and handing over details of such video creators to the concerned authorities.
> She also accused the Chinese app of increasing its users at the expense of violence against women, children, and animals, besides spreading fake news. “Are you working for India or China? This is not acceptable. I want a much better and firmer commitment immediately and I need to see it in action,” Maneka Gandhi concluded.
Edit: Adding a thread which gives just one example among the hundreds. https://twitter.com/free_thinker/status/1262108843464486914?...
Zoom is a good example of terrible user experience. It won't even summarize the status of your connection and the meeting you are trying to join. If Skype fixed Multi-Party and made it free we would have roasted Microsoft for doing it as poorly as Zoom and Google would have filtered nothing.
Meet and Whereby, on the other hand, require nothing but a modern browser.
Good for calendar scheduled meetings, bad for casual chat.
Skype and zoom cover that part, I do bot know for meet.
Zoom has the worst UX of any of them. Here's what it looks like when I join a Zoom meeting:
Paste URL into browser (URL has company subdomain). Get redirected to a generic login page that asks how I want to log in, as if they have no way of knowing that my company has SSO enabled. Click SSO, get redirected to a new page asking me for my company's subdomain despite the fact that they already have it from the original URL. Get redirected to my company's SSO login and login. Redirected back, where they ask for my name, every time, even though it's on my profile. Finally, type in the meeting password and join.
It's literally awful. I can't think of a worse way to implement that flow. And I'm not installing their desktop app. Given their horrendous security track record, the fact that they shouldn't need a thick app to begin with, and that it has to run on my desktop because corporate VDI has terrible performance in video calls.
Anecdotally, I'd disagree with this statement. It seems people pay for it because the video is more reliable than web apps and skype.
It's really rather basic stuff: "Schedule" is used as a noun but it can also be a verb, so bad choice of labels. To admit someone to a room I have to bring up the partipants chat. Wtf. When I'm in another application whilst awaiting people to join I have to keep checking, why not a notification and sound when they join? If I'm trying to join a meeting in similar situation, I can't work because there's a window blocking my screen (Mac). The constant suggestions of dial-in audio (wtf) are annoying and confusing. etcetera, ad infinitum. Additional complaints: there is a weird bug that causes audio quality to drop to "tinny phone" levels when using airpods. They fixed it. And now they broke it again. The white balance doesn't work and I can't adjust it...
Don't get me wrong, I use it because the video works with groups and doesn't stutter often. But the UX is awful.
I think the motivation is legitimate as the votes do not reflect the actual app/game.
If Google want to remove all negative review then Google also allow all fake reviewer for increasing any app rating.
Carry Minati had created a video titled YouTube Vs TikTok, part of an ongoing feud between YouTube and TikTok users. His video went viral and was taken down for violating YouTube’s terms of service. This happended because many TikTok users reported the video saying it was bullying in nature."
Seems reasonable enough to remove those because this is just brigarding and has nothing to do with authentic users of the app.
It's not perfect, but nothing YouTube does at this kind of scale will be.
jwz wrote about this years ago as well (and there are many more stories): https://www.jwz.org/blog/2014/10/youtubes-joke-of-a-fair-use...
That being said, I feel too many people fail to appreciate the problems YouTube is facing and are too quick to simply shout "censorship!"
Ironically, I hear about this fact every time Youtube makes the news for ... you know ... moderating all of that.
One out of every fifty or so people in a country the size of India getting involved enough in an Internet fight to download and rate an Android app is pretty hard to believe.
10M is a huge number, even for a big country like India.
Yes they are but that's not what's going on here. The barrage of downvotes in this case was the result of a platform feud between Youtube and TikTok content creators who told their userbases to go and vote the app down, and some sort of issue between India and China.
These people likely have not used the app at all, aren't actually evaluating the app itself, and the grievances they have are likely irrelevant to the vast majority of users who look at the rating.
I agree that PlayStore is doing it right by removing the reviews that are related to the service but not pertaining to the Android App itself, but then what counts as "using the app"? Seeing the videos created on TikTok counts as "using the app" or just the experience of the app itself? I would describe those reviews as "non-descriptive" than irrelevant, but yes they are very noisy. It's about the same as rating 4chan on trustpilot.
Also, if any country that has banned TikTok, like UAE or Indonesia, because of a different jurisdiction, then it's a valid criticism? If I go to a restaurant, and they only accept Chinese currency, then I would rate it as 1-star since I have only USD and the restaurant is not my preference.
Say a company that develops a product says or does something insensitive, in the earlier days, people would publicly boycott that product, related products or what have you. The company would either stand down and apologize, or put it's foot down and say it's right.
Now picture the same thing with Tik-Tok. There are innumerable instances where Tik-tok has been shown to be biased, censors specific content, etc etc.
Review bombing is as good as boycotting a company. Causing a company real consequences in response to their actions.
It's a form of rightful protest. I am not using the product. I am expressing my views about the product in a review system that is public and open. As long as there are no bots involves, Google is morally wrong, in my view.
No? I mean, a review is supposed to be an informed opinion of another user of the software telling me whether it meets the expectations its store page sets. If reviews become generic forums for comments on corporate policies then they become useless.
I'm with Google here. They provide many forums for people to complain about TikTok already. They certainly shouldn't be forced to do so in app reviews.
As an example: Borderlands 2 , which got review bombed when Borderlands 3 was announced to launch exclusive to the Epic Game Store.
If you intend the reviews to be a help for deciding on the merits of the product, they are noise. Many people consider "didn't fit my purpose 1/5" or "amazon canceled the shipping on me 1/5" reviews as noise, even though they are not useless. I think, "review bombs" are similar.
I'm in no way saying US news is better, and it is often times much worse, but it's usually not worse in the way this article is.
Unfortunately in this day of freelance writers, publications care more about views and speed than quality and this has happened to almost all print media be it Forbes(1) or India today.
It is not.
People recently found that TikTok is extremely lax in dealing with content that promotes violence.
There was a girl who posted a video that included pictures of Bin Laden, so TikTok removed it. She then created alt accounts and continued posting. When TikTok removed the video again, the news media said it was because she mentioned Uighurs, when in reality it was because of the Bin Laden pictures.
Review sections were weaponized long ago, first by companies, and now, increasingly, by nations.
disclaimer: ex-google employee, who did not work in play.
Silly puns aside though, I definitely agree with your viewpoint.
The article gives no evidence of this. Sure the rating improved from 1.2/5 to 1.5/5, but that doesn't mean it's the purpose of the removal.
Tiktok content, specifically in India, from the very start has been very very _cringy_ (weird hairstyles, weird things being said, weird ways of expressing friendship, love, etc). I don’t mean the cringe that you associate with western Tiktok content but for some reason majority of what the Indian kids were producing stood out as being beyond cringe to existing internet users (mainly Youtube / Instagram userbase). I suspect this has to do with the millions of first-time internet / smartphone users on Tiktok + the heavy influence of exaggerated emotional Bollywood drama now being done in 15 seconds on a smartphone.
Youtube on the other hand obviously had an existing audience that was used to consuming content of a certain level of quality / production. Apart from just pure cringe content, Tiktok obviously did not bother with copyright infringements much and in fact promoted the concept of people plagiarizing each other’s work. So the Youtube / IG communities started making memes and calling out the cringe and bad content of Tiktok.
At some point one of the big influencers on Tiktok (Amir Siddiqui referred to in this article) provoked one of the biggest Indian Youtuber, Carryminati who is known for roasting people. Amir made a video saying Tiktok videos require talent, hard work, and a lot more dedication than Youtube videos and basically asked Carry to roast him.
Carry then took on the challenge and released an 8-minute roast video that beautifully called out all the cringe that tiktok users make, things that Amir had done in the past, etc. That Youtube roast video set several records within hours. The roast was actually so effective, it was hilarious to browse through Tiktok for the next few days as the entire Tiktok community sort of agreed and started making fun of each other and that single video actually shook the entire Tiktok community.
About 5-6 days later, Youtube took down the video (which was now the highest liked video of India by far) without explanation probably after receiving thousands of flags from tiktok users. It’s worth mentioning that the roast included comparisons of Amir to being a eunuch multiple times among other questionable insults because of his past tiktok videos. In my opinion, the video was definitely not trying to be Politically Correct but it wasn’t bad enough to be taken down.
Once the video was taken down, the Youtube and Instagram(meme pages) community started a campaign to leave a 1-star rating for Tiktok on the playstore and basically destroyed their rating which was about 4.5 when this started.
In case you’re wondering, I am an avid HN reader, an accomplished software engineer but I do spend about 5% of my free time enjoying Indian cringe. In fact I curate a big list of my favorites and share with my friends but very few people actually enjoy the cringe.
Was it worth explaining all of this to one of the most intellectually stimulating forums on the internet? Probably not. But I had to admit to myself that I know a lot more about this story than I’m proud to admit and that it would make me happy that it gets saved in the HN archive.
A copy of the original video that was taken down by Youtube - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yoZ241zUgbA
 - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ciYohWR2Pio
 - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bg9gjmcHgE8
Well, that copy has also been removed, and now I’m curious to see it. Is there any other copy around?
Edit: OK, here it is as part of a “reaction” video, and includes English subtitles:
Does anyone know if disabling views or delaying gratification of content will reduce the damaging effect on the TikTok network?
Also, vis-a-vis Yelp, why should review bombs be removed when I can go to a restaurant and review it as 1-rated if I am not treated well by them even if I don't complete any transaction?
Edit: it’s all clearly spam on Google Store
(Amusingly, the ratings of the other TikTok app, which looks like it might not be available in India, are unaffected: https://www.androidrank.org/application/tiktok/com.ss.androi...)
I have a very hard time believing that this represents organic user behavior. It seems far more likely that someone's scripted the process of installing and rating the apps.
Genuinely curious about info people have around this, if it is legit or not. It seems like something you’d have expected to see here front page, but then again this site leans left.
Hmm, https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8143845/Malaria-cur... says, "Professor Thomas Broker, who was named in the 'white paper' before it was removed from Google, asked for his name to be disassociated with it, while the University of Alabama at Birmingham, where he works, said a claim that Nobel Prize winner Dr. Louise Chow's laboratory was involved was also false."
"…the university's public relations manager Bob Shepard added that Dr. Chow, a Nobel-prize winner mentioned in the acknowledgments, was no part of the study.
"'No one at UAB has any connection to this paper,' Shepard said.
"Shepard said that Broker 'had previously done research into chloroquine as a possible therapy for human papillomavirus' which is more commonly known as HPV.
"Shepard said: 'He had some contact with one of the authors of that paper at that time. He had no involvement with the work on coronavirus and is not affiliated with that research in any way.'"
Now, I don't want to depend on the Daily Mail, but it seems like they may happen to have been correct in this case.
Also to people downvoting, why? I’m not backing the source, I’m just curious.
All the worst censorship is framed as anti-spam/hate/misinformation, absolutely.
I assume many people would aggree that preventing bots from spamming a forum is not a form of censorship, even though it might be "technically true" in a sense that muddies the seriousnes of what we usually mean with censorship.
So having dissenting accounts deleted and the company claiming they are cleared as anti-spam does not mean anti-spam suddenly falls within the narrow definition of censorship some people use. It means the company is lying.
But in a few very nefarious cases, censorship is framed as anti-spam, or anti-hate, etc.
Google is on the frontlines of this. They banned InfoWars for example, any other “hateful” sites. They regularly change rankings for the sake of clearing spam, but almost always nerf a few legit sites that then are screwed under the weight of the machine.
Just because they do legit anti-spam doesn’t mean the also don’t do a variety of pretty evil things. Their search results are very liberal leaning, for example. Is that “censorship”? If you think the truth is liberal you may not agree, so it’s easy to see how people can justify almost any censorship as legit (oh it’s just spam/the truth/hate).
To me, Google is the most dangerous company in the world, with a proven track record of bias and a lack of taste.
How about Wired? https://www.wired.com/story/an-old-malaria-drug-may-fight-co...
> Except for that video, which hadn’t come out yet, Rigano put all that together and got in touch with Todaro. “I essentially wrote the publication based on my interface with various Stanford researchers and others, and we developed this body of evidence and hardcore science,” Rigano says. “James, Dr. Todaro, was doing the best job, I thought, of anyone in the media, any doctor, any news outlet, anyone on Twitter, of covering coronavirus. I’d been following his research on other items, like decentralized computing, for several years.”
> Todaro, who got an MD from Columbia and is now a bitcoin investor, was interested enough to collaborate on the document. “I added stuff that pertained more to the medical side of things, and gave a more, I guess, clinical feel to it,” Todaro says. “Something that Big Pharma is not going to like—it’s widely available, it’s pretty cheap, and it’s something that at least a million people are already on. It’s really got a lot of the aspects of something that can be rolled out quickly if the right clinical data is there.”
> Todaro and Rigano together started talking to Raoult about the small study he was then preparing, and they also called a retired biochemist named Tom Broker. He was originally listed as the first author of the Google doc, his name followed by “(Stanford).” That’s where Broker got his PhD, in 1972, but Broker has been, for years, at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. His area of research is adenovirus and human papillomavirus, which have DNA as their genetic material, as opposed to the RNA inside coronaviruses. They’re pretty different.
> Broker says he wasn’t involved in producing the Google doc and would never advocate the use of a drug without formal trials. Todaro and Rigano have since removed his name from it, at Broker’s request. “I neither contributed to, wrote any part of, nor had knowledge of this google.com document. I have never conducted research on RNA virus pathogens … I have no professional credentials or authority to suggest or recommend clinical trials or practices,” Broker wrote in an email. “Apparently I was inserted as a ‘gratuitous’ author, a practice that I have always avoided over my 53-year career. Moreover, I have never engaged any part of social media, privately or professionally. All of my scientific publications are processed through peer review. I suggest that you communicate with one of the actual authors.”
> Asked about Broker’s statement, Todaro says that Broker just didn’t want to engage with the attention the idea and document were getting “I don’t personally know Tom Broker. My correspondence has been with Mr. Rigano,” Todaro says. “When we started getting inquiries from the press, my impression was, Mr. Broker got very overwhelmed by that.”
So, according to Wired, the "paper"'s first author says that its real authors put his name on the paper without his knowledge or consent, which is dishonest (it goes far beyond the usual questionable practice of "gratuitous author" insertion, which places your sponsor as the last author), and that he disagrees with what it says. The "paper" is obviously not the kind of thing a real professor would produce. The real authors say he's lying.
It seems clear to me who's lying here. Wired caught them lying about a lot of other things, too.
Thanks for the insight!
Things aren't getting better.
For some reason people seem compelled to declare popular things they dislike as stupid, but that seems very unnecessary.