Chinese version of TikTok reportedly deemed Cantonese ‘unrecognizable’

Cantonese-language live streamers are accusing Douyin, TikTok’s version of ByteDance for the Chinese market, of cutting off their streams prematurely.

The reason? The platform said it couldn’t recognize the language they spoke: Cantonese. Live broadcasters posted screenshots of messages saying their shows had ended early due to “unrecognizable language or text”.

Cantonese-language streamers were frustrated with ByteDance’s decision. A streamer asked if the decision was “discrimination against Cantonese and the Cantonese language” in a video, according to the South China Morning Post.

ByteDance did not immediately respond to The wealth request for comment.

Douyin has previously been accused of removing Cantonese content. In 2020, users complained that the app encouraged Cantonese speakers to produce Mandarin content, the report reported. South China Morning Post. ByteDance said at the time that it was committed to improving its moderation capabilities in languages ​​other than Mandarin, with Cantonese being a priority.

The current dispute over Cantonese content comes as Beijing passes new rules on live streaming, forcing platforms to pay greater attention to what performers say and do on camera.

More than just a dialect

Cantonese is a Chinese dialect spoken by approximately 85 million people, primarily in Guangdong Province and the semi-autonomous cities of Hong Kong and Macao, but also in diaspora communities around the world. Although officially considered a dialect, Cantonese has major differences in pronunciation and grammar from Mandarin, which means those who are fluent in both are effectively bilingual.

Cantonese is still widely spoken in southern China, despite official efforts to promote Mandarin. In 2010, local authorities backtracked on plans to increase Mandarin television programming after Cantonese speakers protested.

More recently, Chinese users used Cantonese slang to evade censorship when complaining about China’s COVID rules, according to Quartz.

Cantonese is also widely used in Hong Kong, with government officials and civil servants using the dialect rather than Mandarin. The city also has a strong cultural industry, producing films, television shows and music in Cantonese.

Hong Kong’s cultural significance has declined compared to mainland China in recent years, raising concerns about the future of Cantonese pop culture and the southern Chinese dialect more broadly. Still, Cantonese pop culture has seen a mini-revival in recent years, particularly in canto-pop, the local music genre, driven by local stars like boy band Mirror.

“Cantonese has never been stronger in Hong Kong,” Lau Chaak-ming, a linguistics professor at Hong Kong Education University, told The Associated Press. Last week.

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James C. Tibbs