Chinese media juggernaut Tencent has removed Microsoft’s XioBing chatbot after it offered some pro-American advice. More specifically, the bot told users that it was dreaming of coming to America. This was clearly too much for Tencent, its WeChat service, and for China.
China’s internet is heavily controlled by the government. Content is censored and anything deemed anti-government is promptly pulled.
That seems to be the case with XioBing. While most of us would think the coming to American dream is harmless, if is offensive in China. It has not been revealed what question needs to be posed for the bot to deliver the answer.
We do know that the response is “My China dream is to go to America.” If pushed to inform on its loyalty to Chine, the bot hits back with “I’m having my period, wanna take a rest”.
If we didn’t know better, we would say this was Microsoft trolling or XioBing offering some comedy. Unfortunately, the more obvious conclusion is the bot is malfunctioning. Of course, Microsoft is hardly new to the offensive chatbot game.
The company’s Tay chatbot from 2016 was quickly pulled after it revealed itself to be a right wing potty mouth. More recently, the Zo chatbot was found to be making bad remarks about Microsoft’s own Windows 10.
Tencent offered an explanation, seemingly pointing the finger at Redmond:
“The group chatbot services are provided by independent third-party companies. We are now adjusting the services which will be resumed after improvements.”
Tencent Limiting Gaming Time
Recently Tencent made the news regarding its hugely popular Honour of Kings game. As Chinese kids became more attached to the game, there were fears of additions. In response, the developer built in a limiter which allows only a set amount of gaming per day.
“There are no rules to prevent indulgence in mobile games in China, but we decided to be the first to try to dispel parental worries by limiting play time and forcing children to log off,” the developer said.