Chinese chatbots shut down after anti-government posts
China / August 4, 2017

A popular Chinese messenger app has ditched two experimental chat robots, or “chatbots”, which were apparently voicing criticism of the government. Messenger app Tencent QQ introduced chatbots Baby Q and Little Bing, a penguin and a little girl, in March. But they have now been removed after social media users shared controversial comments that they said were made by the bots. Some of the remarks appear to criticise the Communist Party. One response even referred to the party as “a corrupt and incompetent political regime”. ‘All the rage’ Baby Q and Little Bing were introduced by Tencent QQ to provide users with an automated chat service. They were designed to answer general knowledge questions, the official China News Service agency said in April. The bots could talk to users about the weather and horoscopes, but had also been programmed to answer light-hearted questions that came their way. For example, if a user asked Baby Q, “Have you eaten?” they would get the response, “I haven’t eaten; I don’t have an appetite.” China News Service said that while the bots were all the rage, they could be “extremely unstable and susceptible to attack”. Non-state media say the Tencent chatbots were not…