China brings Silicon Valley to heel

As I wrote in Corporate Cancer, China is going to dominate the consumer technology high ground – namely, the apps and interfaces, because they a) protect their home markets from competition and b) don’t hate more than 50 percent of their users. The signs of this coming domination are already visible.

YouTube is automatically deleting comments that contain certain Chinese-language phrases related to criticism of the country’s ruling Communist Party (CCP). The company confirmed to The Verge this was happening in error and that it’s working to fix the issue.

“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,” said a YouTube spokesperson. The company did not elaborate on how or why this error came to be, but said it was not the result of any change in its moderation policy.

But if the deletions are the result of a simple mistake, then it’s one that’s gone unnoticed for six months. The Verge found evidence that comments were being deleted as early as October 2019, when the issue was raised on YouTube’s official help pages and multiple users confirmed that they had experienced the same problem.

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.

The fact that we’re already seeing companies like Apple, Google, and Facebook beginning to kneel before Beijing means that it won’t be long before other converged companies like Paypal and Patreon are completely compliant, assuming, of course, that they even survive the initial shock of competition from the East.

It’s even possible that rogue independent platforms like SG, BitChute, and UATV may have a brighter future than the Silicon Valley giants.