YouTube is in the news again for the way in which it handles comments. This time it pertains to two specific phrases that make negative reference to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Said comments are seemingly being deleted automatically, which has raised more than a few eyebrows.
YouTube is aware of the issue, simply not its cause, with an unnamed spokesperson informing The Verge as much.
“This appears to be an error in our enforcement systems and we are investigating,” the spokesperson told the publication.
At the time of writing, no further detail has been shared by YouTube, so it still remains to be seen why this error occurred, and perhaps more importantly, why it has been happening for almost six months without anyone at the company noticing, according to reports from some Chinese users.
#YouTube "automatically" deletes a comment in Chinese, "Gongfei", which means "communist bandit", in 15 seconds.
This person tested 3 times, same result. #油管 15秒內自動刪除「共匪」留言，網友連試三次皆如此。
— Jennifer Zeng 曾錚 (@jenniferatntd) May 13, 2020
After doing some digging, The Verge found that deletions of the two phrases date back as far as October 2019, with issues regarding automatic deletion also being raised with YouTube by users.
For now we need to wait to see what the company’s investigation yields, but given some of the user reports, the deletion process is quite peculiar. This as the two phrases, which when translated to English mean “communist bandit” and “50-cent party”, with users reporting that the comments get automatically deleted within 15 seconds.
The context of the comment does not seem to matter either, with the phrase, “The 50-cent party are doing a fantastic job,” also getting deleted when users were testing out how deletions were working.
Whether or not the two phrases in question have been added to a list of banned words for comments is not the most pressing issue, however, especially as YouTube is not officially accessible in China, as The Verge points out.
As such, it should be interesting to see what the investigation yields, and just how far the censorship of the CCP reaches.[Source – The Verge]