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YouTube Claims It Deleted Comments Criticizing Chinese Communist Party for 6 Months by Mistake

YouTube Claims It Deleted Comments Criticizing Chinese Communist Party for 6 Months by Mistake

YouTube said it was working to fix the issue after The Verge reported that the video giant automatically deleted comments including Chinese-language phrases related to criticism of the country’s Communist Party.

“Upon review by our teams, we have confirmed this was an error in our enforcement systems and we are working to fix it as quickly as possible,” a YouTube spokesperson told The Verge.

“But if the deletions are the result of a simple mistake, then it’s one that’s gone unnoticed for six months,” the outlet noted, pointing to evidence that the comments were automatically deleted as early as October 2019.

The issue was mentioned on YouTube’s support pages last fall.

Phrases added to YouTube’s comment filters:

The Chinese-language phrases, which translate to “communist bandit” and “50-cent party,” were automatically deleted within 15 seconds of posting while English-language translations were not, according to The Verge.

The “communist bandit” phrase is an insult dating back to China’s Nationalist government while “50-cent party” is a slang term used by Chinese internet users to mock people paid to direct comments away from criticism of the Communist Party, deriving from rumors that they were paid 50 cents per post.

These two phrases appear to have been “accidentally added” to YouTube’s comment filters, which automatically remove offensive content.

YouTube blocked in China:

The apparent error was perplexing since YouTube is banned in China and does not have to adhere to their censorship laws.

“Google has frequently been criticized for accommodating the wishes of the CCP by censoring content. Most notably, it created a prototype search engine known as Project Dragonfly that complied with Chinese state censorship,” The Verge reported, though the project was ultimately scrapped.