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 Wen Ma

Wen Ma

Research student,


Wen is a PhD candidate at JOMEC. Her research primarily investigates the implications of the 2014-2020 Social Credit System for Chinese social media. 


Research interests

  • Social Credit System

  • Social media uses

  • The politics of big data and data systems

  • Chinese Internet governance


Wen's been a teaching assistant for 4 modules at Jomec since October 2020.


The Future of Social Media in a Scoring Society: An Empirical Investigation of the Implications of the 2014-2020 Social Credit System for Social Media in China

This thesis investigates the SCS’s potential impact on social media uses and explores the repercussions for the future of Chinese social media and its opportunities and affordances. It uses a mixed-method approach and conducted 417 e-questionnaires and 47 interviews at a historic time when the Chinese SCS is taking shape. It finds that the SCS threatens the participatory and networking affordances of social media and its democratic potentials. The pragmatic goal of nursing SCS scores drives users to self-discipline and self-censor online content, monitor and “refine” their networks, and become more cautious during online shopping. The SCS’s impact on user generated content may be the strongest, whereas online shopping may be less affected. Subjects’ internalisation of the benefits and necessity of the SCS and the consequent tendency to adjust their behaviours correspond to the self-governance dimension of governmentality. This study also finds a significant lack of knowledge about the SCS, mixed attitudes of support, scepticism and unease, and divided stances among users regarding various aspects of social media uses.


Areas of expertise