Following the passage of a new cybersecurity law and the removal of term limits from Chinese president Xi Jinping , China’s government is conducting a comprehensive crackdown on online discussions and content, with few companies spared the rod by the central government. Among the casualties has been Bytedance, the extremely high-flying $20 billion media unicorn startup which was forced to publicly apologize for content that degraded the character of the nation. The government forced the company to shut down its popular Neihan Duanzi comedy app, as well as to remove its headline news app, Jinri Toutiao, for three weeks. The company announced that it would expand the number of human censors from 6,000 to 10,000. Another high-flying media unicorn , Kuaishou, has been under fire for allowing teenage moms to be depicted in a positive light . The app is unique among China’s top social networks in focusing on ordinary Chinese , and is known for its focus on people outside of large cities like Beijing and Shanghai. The company has faced public criticism from central television channel CCTV, as well as from regulators who have demanded the company act more aggressively in removing the content, a demand the company has acquiesced to . Meanwhile, over at Sina Weibo, China’s Twitter-like service, the company announced on Friday that it would ban violent and gay content from its service , following instructions from the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film, and Television. LGBT content has been in the crosshairs of the country’s media regulators for years; for example, censors banned “ abnormal sexual behaviors ” from being depicted in any media or mobile apps in 2017, a term which includes homosexuality. However, in a rare about-face for corporate China and internet censors, the company announced that it would reverse its ban of LGBT-themed content , following thousands of comments and discussions online by gay Chinese citizens. The company’s crackdown on other content though is expected to continue though. There are other forms of censorship underway these days in China. China’s soccer players were banned from having tattoos a few weeks ago, since it depicts a “dispirited culture,” which is banned on all media. Perhaps most importantly, the government has banned the use of private VPNs , in order to better control online discourse. China’s censorship regime is certainly not new, but its intensity around culture and how it is depicted is relatively novel
Responding to the talent shortage and increasing demand facing the cybersecurity industry, Udacity said that it is now developing a new nanodegree focused on security . Launched at the security industry’s RSA Conference , details about the new program (including potential partners) are still sketchy ( there’s little available on the information page on the Udacity’s website about the program). The announcement at RSA actually included an active call for partners for the security program. To the leaders in this field, we are extending the opportunity to join us. Your organization, together with Udacity , can help shape the future of Cybersecurity training, and nurture the world’s most advanced pipeline of highly-qualified Cybersecurity talent. Through our partnership, your organization will have early access to this incredible talent pipeline, and the opportunity to hire those experts who have trained on the curriculum you helped to build. As we consider the technological landscape of the future, we continually seek opportunities to apply the world’s most transformative technologies to the world’s most pressing challenges, and to educate, develop, and nurture the talent that will solve these challenges. We see this kind of opportunity in the field of Cybersecurity, and we look forward to building this program in partnership with the world’s leading Cybersecurity experts. Your expertise and experience will inform the development of our curriculum. Your subject matter experts will provide vital leadership and deliver valuable knowledge to our students. Through the establishment of scholarships, you will help ensure maximum opportunity for the most deserving and qualified students across the globe. Announcing the new program on the company’s blog, Udacity cited reports from the Department of Labor indicating that job opportunities for “information security analysts is projected to grow 28 percent from 2016 to 2026.” Udacity’s security sales pitch is that it has already trained 10,000 artificial intelligence engineers (no word on how many the company has successfully placed in companies), and has thousands of students actively enrolled in its artificial intelligence and data analysis classes. Through its paid and free classes Udacity claims some 8 million students and 30,000 graduates of the company’s nanodegree programs. Udacity has made its reputation by offering classes in some of technology’s most sought after fields including autonomous vehicle systems, artificial intelligence and big data.