Microsoft’s XiaoIce (XiaoBing) chatbot is experiencing issues in China once more. This time, the AI’s WeChat account has been suspended for alleged policy violations. Users visiting the page get a message in that vein, with no indication of which rule XiaoIce has broken.
However, it’s worth noting that the bot has managed to get itself in trouble with the Chinese government in the past. It was previously removed by Tencent for saying “My China dream is to go to America”, and dodging questions about patriotism.
The bot was similarly removed from QQ for privacy concerns in 2014, so it’s clearly a difficult situation to navigate. Generally, China has very strict free-speech laws, especially when it comes to the communist party.
China’s strict regulations when it comes to outside tech has previously led to Microsoft crafting a bespoke version of Windows 10 for its government, cutting telemetry. Currently, though it’s unclear if its a lack of patriotism that’s resulted in XiaoBing’s ban, or some other policy.
According to previous reports, Microsoft programmed its chatbot to avoid controversial subjects like Donald Trump and the Dalai Lama back in 2016 to appease regulators. Clearly, it hasn’t been entirely successful.
Still, WeChat has strict guidelines when it comes to using its API, including no automatic browser redirects and other stipulations. However, XiaoIce is primarily a social chatbot, and influenced by the messages of its users to some degree. We’ve previously seen how that can go awry with Microsoft’s Tay Chatbot, which started spouting Nazi messaging on Twitter.
MSPowerUser has reached out to Microsoft and WeChat for comment but is yet to receive a response from either company. With hope, we’ll soon find out if it will return to the platform.