TUZELITY – TIKTOK 2021 & SHUFFLE DANCE – 2022 Compilations



Censorship on Tik Tok

Censorship on TikTok affects material published by people on the Chinese social media platform TikTok. There is evidence that TikTok has down-weighted the posts of political dissidents, LGBT people, disabled people, and certain African-American hashtags. Explanations for this vary, ranging from attempting to protect users from bullying to algorithmic mistakes.

Political Censorship

In January 2019, the Chinese government said that it would start to hold app developers like ByteDance responsible for user content shared via apps such as Douyin (the name of TikTok in China), and listed 100 types of content that it would censor.  It was reported that certain content considered unfavorable to the Chinese Communist Party was already limited for users outside of China, such as content related to the 2019–20 Hong Kong protests or Tibetan independence.  TikTok has blocked videos about human rights in China, particularly those that reference Xinjiang internment camps and the Uyghur genocide, and disabled the accounts of users who post them.  A 2019 article by The Washington Post reported allegations from former U.S. employees that TikTok had received commands to remove content that Beijing-based teams had deemed subversive or controversial, although ByteDance claimed that no moderators for the U.S. service had been based in China.[10] On 27 November 2019, TikTok temporarily suspended the account of 17-year-old Afghan-American user Feroza Aziz after she posted a video (disguised as a makeup tutorial) which drew attention to the aforementioned Xinjiang internment camps. TikTok later apologized and claimed that her account, which they soon reinstated, had been suspended as a result of “human error”.  In July 2020, TikTok suspended the account of another user whose viral video called attention to the same issue.

TikTok’s policies ban content related to a specific list of foreign leaders such as Vladimir Putin, Donald Trump, Barack Obama, and Mahatma Gandhi because it can stir controversy and attacks on political views.  Its policies also ban content critical of Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and content considered to be supporting Kurdish nationalism.  TikTok was reported to have censored users who were supportive of the Citizenship Amendment Act protests in India and those who promote peace between Hindus and Muslims.

In March 2020, internal documents leaked to The Intercept revealed that moderators had been instructed to suppress posts created by users deemed “too ugly, poor, or disabled” for the platform and to censor political speech in livestreams, banning those who harmed “national honor” or who broadcast streams about “state organs such as police”.  In response to censorship concerns, TikTok’s parent company hired K&L Gates, including former U.S. Congressmen Bart Gordon and Jeff Denham, to advise it on its content moderation policies.  TikTok also hired the lobbying firm Monument Advocacy.

In June 2020, The Wall Street Journal reported that some previously non-political TikTok users were airing pro-Beijing views for the explicit purpose of boosting subscribers and avoiding shadow bans.  Later that month, The Times of India reported that TikTok was shadow banning videos related to the Sino-Indian border dispute and the China–India skirmishes.  In July, the company announced that it was pulling out of Hong Kong in response to the Hong Kong national security law.

In November 2020, a former TikTok executive told a British parliamentary committee that TikTok censored content critical of China, particularly content related to the Uyghur genocide.

In January 2021, TikTok banned Trump-related content deemed to be inciting violence.  On 3 February, it received praise from Russian officials due to its co-operation with them in the removal of “forbidden” content, mostly related to protests in Russia. In particular, as media censorship agency Roskomnadzor official Evgeniy Zaitsev stated, “We need to highlight TikTok among other social media platforms because it has office in Russia and actively cooperated with us, which cannot be said about others.” Also, the State Duma deputy Alexander Khinshtein said that TikTok’s new “anti-fake news” policies go well with the ideology of Russian content censorship law and “should be considered a very positive signal”.

In January 2022, a highly popular video showing the 2015 Tianjin explosions was removed.  In February 2022, German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung reported that automatic subtitles in videos containing terms such as “reeducation camp,” “internment camp,” or “labor camp” were replaced with asterisks.

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