What Should We Do if YouTube Censors On Behalf of the Chinese Communist Party?

Technological—not political—solutions will secure true freedom of speech online

by Andrea O’Sullivan

A funny thing has been happening on YouTube. For some reason, certain combinations of Chinese characters have been immediately removed from the platform within a few short seconds. No warning or reason would be given to the Mandarin-speaking moderatees. And it’s not like they had been foul or freaky in a foreign tongue. The Hanzi Which Shall Not Be Named were merely ?? (“communist bandit”) and ?? (“fifty cents”).

Huh? Why in the world would YouTube want to immediately take down those particular phrases? Well, according to YouTube, they didn’t. It’s an algorithmic mistake, you see. The company told The Verge that upon review, they discovered this odd insta-deleting was indeed an “error in [their] enforcement systems” that is currently being patched.

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