Search and Destroy

Friday, March 05, 2010


In China, it's hard to be anonymous online in part due to a phenomenon known as the human-flesh search engine. It's not really a search engine at all. Rather, it's a community of message board users that seek out and punish in the real world people they find committing offensive acts online. Tom Downey explains in this weekend's New York Times Magazine that the human flesh search engine offers a disturbing mix of justice and revenge.

Comments [2]

Chris Gray from New Haven, CT

I kept thinking of the use and abuse of the power of rumor in our society as I listened to this.

Now, in its stead, we try to use protective orders to prevent the wave of wife murders, without success but there was a time in recent memory that allowed rumor as its only tool to fight this scourge. It feels like Afghanistan under the Taliban, with all the fatal domestic violence on our morning news shows, here.

Mar. 12 2010 09:05 AM
Connie from Hoboken, NJ

In this segment, you mention an animal cruelty video made in China. I wonder about your choice to treat this as if it were an isolated incident. I read, sometime last year (I believe it was in the Talk of the Town section of The New Yorker, but it might have been in the NY Times) that this kind of video has an international audience as sexual fetish items. I'm thinking that this would have been a great opportunity to create some outrage about this extremely disturbing behavior. On the other hand, you might have chosen not to highlight it on the chance that it might cause imitations. Why did you choose to treat this the way you did?

Thanks; LOVE your show.

Mar. 08 2010 01:03 PM

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