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PerpetualChange
On 5/20/2020 at 5:10 AM, HelloTalk Zac said:

@Perpetual Chang @david387 @mungouk Moments is now back to normal. 

 

I wouldn't say "normal" when now even harmless moments are being shadow muted by the overactive filtering software. 

I linked to a movie review of a Chinese movie on a western film site, and the post was removed. 

 

I do wonder what kind hoops HT had to go through to make sure that people from PRC were allowed back on... I'm guessing like any posts that would remind a Chinese user they are not already on the free internet are just invisible to anyone. Great, now we're all behind the great firewall with them! 

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PerpetualChange

Oh so posts with 近, 喜 and 平 get you shadowbanned too now. My mistake for making a post with the word 最近 in it. 

@HelloTalk Zac you guys truly ought to be ashamed of yourselves. I have cancelled my VIP and I will be deleting this application .

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mungouk

Is there maybe some extra tightening-up going on while the Two Sessions are happening?  

Not being an apologist, but surely this would happen across all social media.

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PerpetualChange
2 minutes ago, HelloTalk Zac said:

The systems will gradually improve over time. Unfortunately it'll overshadow some posts in for the first few weeks. 

How about some transparency for your paying customers. What content - SPECIFICALLY - will you be censoring, from here on out? What leads to a user's post being shadowbanned? 

 

If you can't answer those questions, HelloTalk is no longer worth my time. 

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HelloTalk Zac

@PerpetualChange  We can't answer these questions. There are many language exchange apps not in our situation, as you said maybe it's best to try them out instead. 

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大块头

A notification saying "Your post will not be shown to mainland China users." would be a lot better than just silently censoring it. It that a possibility?

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david387

There are few alternatives where mainland Chinese and westerners can share content together in a public place. And it is not easy to satisfy everyone. I'm just happy that we have such a place. Thank you for all Zac. Hopefully over time as you say, things will improve, but your goal of helping people to communicate with each other is one of the most important things we could be working on right now in our world. Thank you for doing that.

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PerpetualChange
28 minutes ago, 大块头 said:

A notification saying "Your post will not be shown to mainland China users." would be a lot better than just silently censoring it. It that a possibility?

 

That's not what they're doing. They're just applying whatever the Chinese authorities wanted to ALL users. If your post violates "the rules" (which are not made public, made up on the spot, and ever changing), it will be shadowbanned. 

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david387
4 minutes ago, PerpetualChange said:

That's not what they're doing. They're just applying whatever the Chinese authorities wanted to ALL users. If your post violates "the rules" (which are not made public, made up on the spot, and ever changing), it will be shadowbanned. 

It's a language learning app. Often people post links to external sites, which should have lifts users out of hellotalk and can distract from The learning experience. It's not going to be easy to satisfy every government, but I'm just happy there is a place that people can exchange language. Some problems are greater than hellotalk and it's worth acknowledging that.

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PerpetualChange
9 minutes ago, david387 said:

It's a language learning app. Often people post links to external sites, which should have lifts users out of hellotalk and can distract from The learning experience. It's not going to be easy to satisfy every government, but I'm just happy there is a place that people can exchange language. Some problems are greater than hellotalk and it's worth acknowledging that.

 

That's your rationalization, not the basis for the rule. The bottom line is, I am not spending my time and money on a website if it is going to to waste time and stunt my ability to communicate with other users by holding me to invisible rules and deleting my posts without telling me because characters like 喜 or 近 appear in my posts. Yes, for sure some problems are greater than hellotalk, I personally can not trust a app with my individual data and the myriad of permissions it requires on my phone if they can not be even superficially honest about the things they are doing. 

 

 

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Flickserve

Do the limitations apply to Taiwan users?

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david387
5 hours ago, PerpetualChange said:

Oh so posts with 近, 喜 and 平 get you shadowbanned too now. My mistake for making a post with the word 最近 in it. 

 

Not for me. I just posted with these words and no problem at all. maybe there is a reason you are having a different experience than me. I am also a paid user. I've been with HT for 6 years and I'm not going anywhere. But I respect your choice.

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大块头

My HelloTalk username is WheezingWalrus. I have just posted the following to my moments:

 

Quote

审查系统的测试:

 

习近平是一个油腻的暴君。川普是一个橙色的傻瓜。

 

Can anybody here outside of mainland China see this post? 

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Weyland
1 hour ago, 大块头 said:

My HelloTalk username is WheezingWalrus ... Can anybody here outside of mainland China see this post? 


No, but I can't find anyone's profile either. So... there is that. For some reason I can only find Hindustani people that want to learn English when searching for a name.

@HelloTalk Zac, it seems reasonable to think that my account is under constant supervision, right? I mean I tend to post images like this for a few weeks

20200521_021500.thumb.jpg.7ae2f06b2cc3ae48651ddb8687620df0.jpg

And then rant about traditional medicine or the prevalence of harem sub-plots in Chinese manga (which I've been reading as of late).

 

Screenshot_20200524-061419_HelloTalk.thumb.jpg.868d8f8f0de3526d19080dc8a1733f72.jpg

 

Which tends to upset some people. 

Hellotalk's censorship is a mess. I can literally post mock-questions from the Chinese civil service exam's politics section, and when it got blocked in the past I told mods and they apologized and reverted the post. But, before that I would get warned for posting a book-cover of a study book on Chinese politics.

I don't mind getting banned for using certain words or talking about certain topics. I just wish there was more transparency.

 

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david387
46 minutes ago, Weyland said:

I don't mind getting banned for using certain words or talking about certain topics. I just wish there was more transparency.

 

I think they have a hundred post per minute at times, and probably hundreds more comments per minute. And there are bots hitting them. There are definitely some people who are up to malicious behavior. I totally understand them wanting to do filters and not need to explain it. There are going to be some people who get banned or filtered that should not have been, but they just have to deal with percentages. Their overall goal is to help as many people as possible to learn languages and I think they're doing a decent job at that. They could do better though.

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HelloTalk Zac

This is the LAST message I will post here. HelloTalk is mainly an app that attempts to help language leaners through mutual help. From day one the community guideline has been that the app is for language learning, and NOT for:

- porn/sexual talk

- political debate/arguing

- spreading religion

- spamming/scamming 

 

If anyone who has used the app since 2013 will note that it's listed as unacceptable behavior since that time. It's also not as complicated before as our hands were not tied back then. 

Right now there's a keyword filtering systems in place as this is required for any company operating in China.  The systems is not perfect but will gradually improve over time, if there's mistake just talk to the community management team and they will rectify it. However, it's impossible to have transparency over keyword list - just trust that it will be more accurate over time and allow for the mistakes over next 1-2 month.

 

I strongly advise against deliberately posting politically sensitive stuff to test anything - basically it'll result in perpetual shadow ban or even removal/block of device, as the filtering systems or community team can't distinguish whether it's testing or malicious attempt. We are required by local law to do what we have to do now.

 

We just want to remain a company about language learning by helping users practice language through language exchange. There are many other venues like Twitter or Reddit to discuss whatever anyone wants to discuss or argue about. There are also many many other language exchange apps that's not based in China and would not have the issues that we face. It's always easy just to delete our app and use other apps rather than having to deal with the frustration with our app. We also welcome anyone who understands the situation we are in, to continue using the app for language exchange purpose. 

 

I wish everyone a great language learning journey!

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PerpetualChange

I would like to apologize to @HelloTalk Zac as I actually did not know that Hellotalk was an app based in the PRC to begin with. I thought it was just another example of the west self-censoring to access the Chinese market. Of course, now that I know the app is based in China, it makes sense why the Chinese users being able to use it without having to resort to a VPN is so essential. Actually, I'm less upset by the decision, and more flabbergasted that the app was ever allowed to exist in the first place. Yes it always had problems with both MAGA and wu mao types, maybe this all could have been avoided if that had never gotten out of hand to begin with. Sadly, I'm not surprised to see that the censorship authorities are willing to do this during this climate. 

 

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