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Tencent pulls chatbots in China after it turns on Communist Party

Tencent has pulled two chatbots from its QQ instant messaging app. Photo by Getty Images

Tencent has pulled two chatbots from its QQ instant messaging app after the bots starting providing answers that criticised the ruling Communist Party in China.

Baby Q and Little Bing, a penguin and a little girl developed by Turing Robot and Microsoft respectively, were introduced in March and were meant to answer general conversation questions like horoscopes and the weather.

However, social media users started sharing screenshots of the bots answering questions like "Is democracy good or not?" with “There needs to be democracy!" and responding to comments like "Long live the Communist Party” with "Do you think that such a corrupt and incompetent political regime can live forever?".

When asked "What is your China dream?", Little Bing responded that "My China dream is to go to America" while Baby Q replied, "For this question, I don't know yet" when asked "I would like to know whether Taiwan is part of China".

Tencent confirmed that the bots have been pulled from the app, releasing a statement saying: “The group chatbot services are provided by independent third party companies. We are now adjusting the services which will be resumed after improvements.”

This is not the first time an AI bot developed by Microsoft has gone off the rails, with the company also pulling Tay, after the bot started posting offensive tweets on Twitter.

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