Gallery: Blocked on Weibo
Why it is blocked: It is caught because of a word it unintentionally contains: 大法 (dàfǎ), whose standard meaning is “national constitution” but that is also an abbreviation for Falun Dafa (法 轮大法), aka Falun Gong (法轮功), the outlawed cult. Similarly, a nickname for China’s most prestigious law school, 人大法学院 (Renmin University of China Law School / Réndà Fǎxuéyuàn), is also blocked. This is an example of the Scunthorpe problem, where certain types of simple filtering algorithms block innocent terms that happen to contain banned words from a blacklist, so named for the English town of Scunthorpe, whose residents were prevented from signing up to AOL in 1996 because the word “cunt” was on AOL’s blacklist. Thus, the blocking of Canadian French and Renmin Law School are mistakes but are unavoidable based on the current way Weibo implements its search blocks.
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