YouTube's software is automatically deleting comments with two phrases critical of the Chinese Communist Party,the Verge reportedon Tuesday morning.
“共匪” means "communist bandit." It was a derogatory term used by Nationalists during the Chinese Civil War that ended in 1949. It continues to be used by Chinese-speaking critics of the Beijing regime, includingin Taiwan.
“五毛” means “50-cent party.” It's a derogatory term for people who are paid by the Chinese government to participate in online discussions and promote official Communist Party positions. In the early years of China's censored Internet, such commenters were allegedly paid 50 cents (in China's currency, the yuan) per post.
I've confirmed the behavior of YouTube's commenting algorithm. Around 11:30am, Iposted several commentson a YouTube video, some containing one of the two phrases, two with other Chinese phrases, and several with English content. The comments with “共匪” and “五毛” in them disappeared in less than a minute. The others are still up as I write this around noon Eastern time.
YouTube's apparent policy is especially surprising because the search giant has long had an adversarial relationship with the communist regime. YouTube has been officially blocked in China since 2009. Google has refused to comply with China's censorship requirements for search engines, which has locked Google out of the Chinese search market. Plans to re-enter the market with a censored search engine werescuttled last year after protests from Google employees, American elected officials, and human rights advocates.
The Chinese government has been exerting increasing pressure on companies around the world to censor content critical of the Communist regime in Beijing. Last fall, for example, Blizzardbanned a professionalHearthstonegamer for expressing support for Hong Kong during a livestream. The National Basketball Associationfaced reprisalsfrom the Chinese government after Rockets manager Daryl Morey tweeted suppor