TikTok Censors Videos Criticising Chinese Government
Tik Tok's company guidelines ban content regarding Tiananmen Square, '98 Indonesian riots, the Cambodian genocide, and the ongoing Hong Kong Protests.
Image for Representation (Source: News18 )
Popular social media app TikTok may have made an attempt to export some of China's censorship policies to the rest of the world with policy guidelines instructing moderators to take down content that refers to incidents like the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre. The revelation by The Guardian came after they obtained documents showing the guidelines. Notably, the company lists Tiananmen Square alongside other "incidents" such as the 1998 riots in Indonesia and the Cambodian genocide as topics that aren't acceptable to broach. In fact, the guidelines list specific world leaders TikTok users can't mention as well.
Usually, in most cases, the action TikTok recommends against users who create a video about a banned topic is to limit the visibility of the post. While the company wouldn't outright delete a post, it also wouldn't allow it to be picked up by its algorithm. Certain posts, however, warrant bans like topics on Falun Gong. In a statement, ByteDance, TikTok's creator, claims it retired the guidelines in May, adding that in the early days of TikTok, they took a blunt approach to minimise conflict on the platform, but now employs more localised approaches to content moderation, employing both region-specific moderators and policies.
An article on the same referred to an earlier investigation by The Washington Post, which found that searching for videos related to Hong Kong brings back little to no mention of the ongoing pro-democracy protests in the city-state, highlighting the latest example of Chinese-style censorship making its way to the wider internet.
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