Chinese netizens have recently discovered that YouTube is automatically deleting some terms that are critical of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). The comments are deleted within seconds, suggesting that the deletion was programmed through YouTube’s algorithms.
The issue was first noticed by Jennifer Zeng, a blogger and content creator on YouTube who is critical of the Chinese Communist Party and, who was recently stripped of her income by YouTube because of a video that called out the Chinese government for their role in suppressing information about the coronavirus outbreak.
Today, Zeng posted a video of a person demonstrating the automatic deletion of a comment containing phrases that criticize the CCP.
One of the phrases that were flagged for automatic deletion was “gongfei,” which means “communist bandit.”
The phrase dates back to the Chinese civil war era.
Another phrase is “wumao,” which means “fifty cents.”
This phrase is commonly used as a description of the internet trolls that the CCP uses to spread propaganda online; the joke being that the trolls are paid 50 cents per post that they write.
It’s not yet known for how long YouTube has been automatically censoring common phrases that are used to criticize the Chinese government and those who spread their propaganda, but the finding is likely to raise suspicions as to YouTube’s motives – especially as it was revealed that Google, who owns YouTube, had once been working on a search engine built for China.
If Google were to build a search engine for China, they would have to censor criticism of the Chinese government – something that all social apps in the country have to adhere to. Google revealed that it had abandoned “Project Dragonfly” when members of the US Congress began to ask questions about their motives.
While censorship of criticism of the Chinese government is rife in China, it shouldn’t be happening US social networks.