Peppa Pig — the anthropomorphic pink pig from the eponymous British animated series — is the latest cultural product that’s been given the axe on a Chinese platform.
Some 30,000 video clips featuring the children’s cartoon character have disappeared from social media platform Douyin, according to Chinese state-owned tabloid Global Times. The videos had previously been searchable on the platform under the hashtag “#PeppaPig,” which now shows zero search results.
Douyin, an app that allows users to create and publish short videos, is owned by Beijing-based new media company Bytedance.
Zhang Yiming, the chief executive of Bytedance, last month said on social media that the company would increase the number of employees handling censorship at Toutiao — a popular news app that’s also part of the social media giant — to 10,000 after being temporarily banned earlier this year.
Given the recent developments, “it is not surprising that the platform has become more paranoid in the interpretation of parodic content,” said Severine Arsene, managing editor of AsiaGlobal Online, a digital journal published by the University of Hong Kong.
Specific details surrounding the removal of Peppa Pig-related content, such as whether it was the result of an official directive, remain unclear, but self-censorship is understood to be a common practice.
“In many cases, [platforms] tend to over-censor, particularly during sensitive periods,” Arsene said.
Douyin, meanwhile, has not publicly discussed its latest move. The company did not reply to a request for comment.