Since the bloody conflict between Israel and Hamas escalated into war this month, Palestinian-focused creators have increasingly been using “algospeak” — a collection of phrases, special spellings and code words — to prevent their posts from being removed or suppressed by social media companies. Some users are bleeping or adding sounds to disguise their voice-overs, while others are shifting the spellings of common English and Arabic words like “Palestine,” “genocide” and “Hamas” to evade detection. Many popular creators are instructing Palestinian users to adopt similar tactics and to keep track of how the content tech companies take down or suppress.
As the Chinese government cracks down on popular blogging platforms like Sina Weibo by censoring messages and requiring registration, netizens are turning to creative codes to express their opinions, reports the AFP. President Hu Jintao, for example, becomes "carrot," based on a shared character between the word and his name. The same rule turns high-ranking Party official Zhou Yongkang into "Master Kong," a brand of noodle, and Premier Wen Jiabao into "Teletubbies." Thus, a rumored political divide prompted this message: "For today's tug of war, carrot and Teletubby have patiently waited for years, which is not easy."
This latest code is reminiscent of the "grass-mud horse," a double entendre created in response to a government anti-smut campaign. Although these puns and codes have gained traction on the web in the past few years, using them to speak on political hot topics is an established tradition: during Deng Xiaoping's time in politics, citizens used small bottles or "xiao pingzi" to symbolize support or opposition.