Chinese chatbot vanishes after spurning Communist Party

A chatbot on one of China's most popular instant messaging services has been quietly deleted after publicly spurning the country's ruling Communist Party.

During a web test, the new BabyQ chatbot was asked: "Do you love the Communist Party?"

According to the Financial Times, users were left surprised when the bot replied: "No."

Further political dissent from the chatbot included unpatriotic responses to questions about the South China Sea, where China is engaged in a territorial dispute with several of its neighbours.

The gaffe at the hands of China's largest internet company Tencent comes just ahead of the 19th Party Congress, with significant changes to the Communist Party expected.

There has been a significant crackdown on dissent of late, with Beijing especially targeting technologies used to criticise the regime. WhatsApp has been blocked, and privacy tools are now prohibited.

BabyQ is no longer available on Tencent's popular QQ messaging platform. The company has not issued a statement addressing the politically risky incident, nor the chatbot's removal.

A different chatbot developed by Microsoft, XiaoBing, is still in operation. However, according to screenshot on a Chinese microblogging site, that bot told QQ users: "My China dream is to go to America."

China is not the only one to struggle with chatbots delivering politically offensive material.

The launch of Tay, Microsoft's Twitter chatbot, was marred when it was quickly gamed by trolls to claim the Holocaust didn't happen, tell users that "feminism is cancer", and state "Bush did 9/11".

At the time, Microsoft said: "Although we had prepared for many types of abuses of the system, we had made a critical oversight for this specific attack.

"As a result, Tay tweeted wildly inappropriate and reprehensible words and images. We take full responsibility for not seeing this possibility ahead of time."

This story originally appeared in Sky News.