YouTube is blocked in China by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). But that doesn’t seem to stop the censorship of criticism about the CCP.
According to Palmer Luckey, the founder of tech companies Oculus and Anduril, YouTube deleted his comments on its platform. He tweeted, “YouTube has deleted every comment I ever made about the Wumao ((五毛), an internet propaganda division of the Chinese Communist Party.”
He then asked, “Who at Google decided to censor American comments on American videos hosted in America by an American platform that is already banned in China?”
Tech magazine The Verge alleged that “Comments left under videos or in live streams that contain the words “共匪” (“communist bandit”) or “五毛” (“50-cent party”) are automatically deleted in around 15 seconds, though their English language translations and Romanized Pinyin equivalents are not.”
A YouTube spokesperson told the Media Research Center, “This appears to be an error in our enforcement systems and we are investigating. Users can report suspected issues to troubleshoot errors and help us make product improvements.” According to the spokesperson, YouTube takes comments down that violate their Community Guidelines. However, the platform made no such guidelines surrounding negative comments about the CCP.
Blogger Jennifer Zeng noted on Twitter that “#YouTube ‘automatically’ deletes a comment in Chinese, ‘Gongfei’, which means ‘communist bandit’, in 15 seconds.” She then posted a video of a user commenting the phrase three times, only to have it deleted each time.
In 2008, YouTube was blocked from the Chinese Internet, according to Business Insider. “We manage the Internet according to law ... to prevent the spread of harmful information,” said Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang.
More recently, YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki told CNN chief media correspondent Brian Stelter “We also talk about removing information that is problematic.” This was in reference to COVID-19 “misinformation.”