Google's Voice Typing software programme is censoring phrases about the Falun Gong religious movement, which is banned by the Chinese government.
As covered by Reclaimthenet, Chicago resident Sharon Wehrwein recently shared a video showing that Google Voice Typing for Simplified Chinese blocked the word "Falun" each time Wehrwein gave voice command to type phrases about "Falun Gong" practice.
The video shows Wehrwein trying to voice-type phrases "Falun Gong," "Falun Dafa," "Zhuan Falun" and "Falun Dafa is wonderful," on her Samsung S9 smartphone, but each time, the word "Falun" in those phrases was replaced with "****".
Falun Gong is a Buddhist-based practice of meditation that is heavily persecuted by the Chinese Communist Party. Wehrwein said it is likely that Google's software deliberately blocked the word.
In a tweet, human rights activist and author Jennifer Zeng said that she suspects "Google is doing this under the instruction of the CCP."
Breaking &Exclusive: Google's Voice Typing for Simplified Chinese is blocking the word "Falun(??)"— Jennifer Zeng ?? (@jenniferatntd) May 31, 2020
This video is recorded by a lady in Chicago, showing that when she tried to use her Samsung S9 to voice type "Falun Dafa", "Zhuan Falun", "Falun Gong" & "Falun Dafa is... pic.twitter.com/EB2wySQTxe
Dafa Infocentre, the press office for Falun Gong, claims on its website that millions of people in China have been fired from their jobs, tortured, jailed or killed just for practicing Falun Gong.
Last month, Zeng accused YouTube of auto-blocking comments that were critical of the Chinese government. According to Zeng, the comments were deleted within seconds, indicating that the deletion was programmed through YouTube's algorithms.
The issue was later fixed by YouTube, which blamed an "error" in its enforcement systems for 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," the company said.
It did not elaborate on how this error came to be, but stressed that it was not the result of any change in its moderation policy.
The platform, however, demonetised Zeng's channel "Inconvenient Truths" following that episode. Zeng had used the channel to post videos that were critical of the CCP. Zeng said that she received a message from YouTube stating that her channel would no longer be eligible for monetisation.
Google has faced scrutiny in past years over ties to China, including its work on Project Dragonfly - a secretive censored version of Google Search designed to obfuscate information about human rights, democracy, religion and peaceful protest on behalf of the CCP.
The news of Project Dragonfly was first published by The Intercept in 2018. Amid the subsequent outcry in July 2019, Karan Bhatia, vice president of public policy at Google, told the US Senate Judiciary Committee that the company had stopped work on Project Dragonfly.
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