Now, YouTube automatically deletes comments insulting China’s Communist Party

Hemani Sheth Mumbai | Updated on May 27, 2020

File photo   -  REUTERS

YouTube is automatically deleting comments that contain certain phrases in Mandarin that insult the Communist party of China according to reports.

The Google-owned video-sharing platform is deleting comments that contain certain insulting phrases in Chinese-language for the country’s Communist party in 15 seconds. However, the comments containing their English language translations and Romanised Pinyin are not affected, the Verge reported.

The platform told the Verge that it was an error and the issue was being looked at. However, the issue has gone unnoticed for months. It has been spotted by multiple reports dating back to the Verge’s report back in October 2019.

The issue was highlighted on Tuesday by former Oculus founder Palmer Luckey.

“YouTube has deleted every comment I ever made about the Wumao (五毛), an internet propaganda division of the Chinese Communist Party. Who at Google decided to censor American comments on American videos hosted in America by an American platform that is already banned in China?” he had tweeted.

Uman rights activist Jennifer Zeng had also spotted the same issue and had tweeted about it earlier this month sharing screenshots of the same.

“#YouTube "automatically" deletes a comment in Chinese, "Gongfei", which means "communist bandit", in 15 seconds. This person tested 3 times, same result,” she had tweeted.

Comments left on the platform that contains the words “共匪” (“communist bandit”) or “五毛” (“50-cent party”) are being deleted automatically within 15 seconds. One is a term dating back to the days of the Chinese Nationalist government while the other is a derogatory slang term that is insulting to the CCP, the report said.

According to the Verge report, these terms appear to be added to YouTube’s comment filters. These filters are meant to automatically delete comments that contain such words or phrases.

“This appears to be an error in our enforcement systems and we are investigating,” a YouTube spokesperson said as quoted by the report.

Published on May 27, 2020

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