According to Palmer Luckey, the founder of Oculus VR, when people try to type Communist or “Fiddy” Cent Party in the comment section on YouTube, it will mysteriously disappear. While Google says it is a glitch, US Senator Josh Hawley is demanding for more details.
Questions, whether YouTube is protecting China’s Communist Party (CCP), arise as the public notice that Google, YouTube’s parent company has been automatically deleting the words Gong-Fei and Wu-Mao– two words that are used to degrade the Communist party of the country.
The first term stands for Communist bandit while the second one means internet users who are covertly working to manipulate the opinion of the public in favor of the Chinese government. Try typing either of these terms in the comment section of YouTube and it will disappear in about 30 seconds.
Buying YouTube Views Problems Continue
The issue was reported to the community page of YouTube when users began noticing it since November. Originally thought to be associated with buying YouTube views, but it was only last May 25, Monday, when Palmer Luckey, the founder of Oculus VR called the attention of his 70,000 followers on Twitter regarding the issue. Know the in-depths of buying YouTube views.
Luckey told his followers in a tweet to try saying anything negative against Th3 F1fty-M4o P4rty(in l33t sp34k) or even just mention them. Without any notice or warning, the comment will be removed in a span of only 30 seconds, similar to CCP’s (Chinese Communist Party) censor style. He also wrote in the tweet that the comment removal seems to be YouTube’s newest global policy.
Luckey also asked Google whether on the platform decided to censor comments that come from American to an American video in a platform that China has already banned in their country.
Google Blames the Issue to A Glitch
According to Google, the parent company of YouTube, the issue seems to be an error in their enforcement system. The company also said that they are already investigating the matter and told the public that they can report any suspected issue in order to troubleshoot the errors and help them improve the platform.
However, despite Google’s statement, the public is still in fear that the automatic takedowns are YouTube’s way of censoring the terms in order to appease the Chinese Government.
US Senator Josh Hawley of R-Missouri is also demanding an explanation from Google. Similarly, US Senator Ted Cruz of R-Texas is claiming that the entire issue underscored the monopolistic control of Google over the internet. In a tweet, Senator Cruz emphasized that Google’s censorship is wrong and the tech giant is drunk with power.
YouTube Views Go CCCP
Furthermore, YouTube still allows its users to use the English language when they want to comment on something critical of the Chinese Communist Party. According to PCMag, an online news outlet, YouTube users can still upload videos with the two aforementioned phrases in the title or in the video description. The video you uploaded will not be deleted by the platform.
The automatic comment deletion would mean little for YouTube users in mainland China as well. Ever since 2009, China has been blocking its citizens from accessing users. This was done after a video was uploaded on the platform where Chinese security officers were seen beating up a group of Tibetans. In order to access YouTube despite the ban, users from China have to use a VPN.
The video-sharing platform is still accessible in Taiwan and Hong Kong. In these two countries, citizens have been opposing the reunification policies implemented by the Chinese government. Moreover, Google was trying to return to the Chinese market by offering them a censored search engine. However, the tech giant eventually dropped the plan despite the backlash thrown by the public.
Google Failed to Explain How the Error Caused Automatic Comment Removals
Although Google already stated that the removal of comment is caused by a glitch, it was not able to explain how the glitch came to be. According to the tech giant, the automatic deletions were not a result of the change they implemented on the moderation policy of YouTube. It added that the company is completely reliant on its automated systems due to the coronavirus pandemic. This caused the automatic deletion to happen.
However, increased reliance on an automated system that filters comments seems to not explain why comments containing two phrases that deride CCP were removed. In addition, the comment deletion seems very strange given the fact that YouTube has already been banned in China. So, the platform will not gain any incentive by censoring comments critical of China’s Communist Party.
One hypothesis that can explain this matter is that the aforementioned phrases were added to the automated filter of YouTube as a result of coordinated action done by pro-CCP YouTube users. The said users may have mass reported the two terms, which triggered an automatic response that added them to YouTube’s filters.
Similar instances of errors involving pro-CCP biases also appeared in Google back then. During the Hong Kong protest, Google Translate translated the sentence “So sad to see Hong Kong become China,” into a simplified Chinese sentence that translates to “So happy to see Hong Kong become China.” The tech giant fixed the error in a quiet manner, offering no details regarding its cause.
Since Google never released an official explanation, politicians in the United States such as President Donald Trump accused the company that Google is a pro-China bias. During the past months, the White House has pushed a message saying that US tech companies are biased against Republican policies and censor conservative voices.
Google and China have a long and complicated history. The company showed that there are times when it was happy to censor information in such a way that grants the wishes of the CCP. On top of that, the tech giant also developed Project Dragonfly, a censored prototype search engine for the Chinses market. However, the CCP-biased search engine was never launched. Furthermore, in a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing conducted in 2019, Google said that it has already terminated the said project.