In the April issue of VICE magazine, Motherboard published an article about Shenzhen maker and YouTube star Naomi Wu. The piece highlighted her leadership as a woman in tech, and her innovative work as a maker in China.
While reporting this story, as with any subject who expresses concerns over her or his anonymity, we agreed to protect any identifying information about Naomi’s home in Shenzhen or her real name, including in our photos. We did not make an agreement to avoid asking specific questions.
Naomi said that, based on past experience, she was wary of being part of a profile that revolved around her personal life. The aim of the story was never to speculate on Naomi's private life, and the end result reflects that. But as with any story, we need to address what has been previously reported or publicly discussed by a subject. And as we detailed, the story we reported would be incomplete if we were to avoid these subjects.
We still feel the story speaks for itself, and have no desire to publicly engage with every subject who disagrees with our stories. Every person is entitled to share their opinion. But in this case, after Naomi published a video containing the home address of one of our employees to multiple platforms and threatened our staff and their partners with further doxing and harassment, we felt it was warranted to discuss what has happened. In regard to the video specifically, the platforms, including YouTube, Twitter, and Patreon, determined for themselves what action to take in accordance with their terms of service.
We have been corresponding with Naomi about this before and after the story was published and there is still a disagreement, but the vast majority of the resulting 6,300 word piece about Naomi focuses on her role as a leader in both the maker world and in China, and speaks highly of the work she has done.
To be clear, we have no interest in keeping Naomi off the internet. As our profile of her clearly expresses, she does notable work and is an interesting figure in tech. Our interests in this case are reporting accurately and protecting the safety of our employees.