What Next: TBD

How Clubhouse Cracked China’s Firewall

Two weeks of extraordinary conversations led to an inevitable result.


Episode Notes

For most of the last year, Clubhouse—the audio-only social media app—has been dominated by conversations about business, branding, and Elon Musk. But as users picked up the app around the globe, something extraordinary happened.

Censors in mainland China overlooked it. And for two weeks in February, it hosted a series of unusual, unfiltered conversations. Han Chinese, Hong Kongers, Taiwanese, and Uighurs all flooded to the app to speak freely about authoritarianism, democracy, and propaganda.

Here’s what happened when the censors looked the other way.

Melissa Chan, journalist with the Global Reporting Centre


About the Show

Every Friday and Sunday, Slate’s popular daily news podcast What Next brings you TBD, a clear-eyed look into the future. From fake news to fake meat, algorithms to augmented reality, Lizzie O’Leary is your guide to the tech industry and the world it’s creating for us to live in.

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  • Lizzie O’Leary is the host of What Next: TBD, Slate’s show about technology, power, and the future. Previously, she created and hosted Marketplace Weekend. She has reported for CNN, Bloomberg News, and the New York Times Magazine, among others. She is also a contributing writer at the Atlantic.