A new report published by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute points out that the social video network TikTok would be censoring publications and political and social topics on LGBTQ + issues, repression of the Uighur people in China and recent protests in the United States.
The report concludes that the platform has also suppressed content of the type to make it more difficult to find. “TikTok users who post videos with these hashtags have the impression that their posts are as searchable as those of other users, but in fact they are not,” says the publication.
In China, the way the country has dealt with the Uighur people in the Xinjiang region has been treated as repressive. In the country, posts with the term “Xinjiang” are being hidden from search results.
“This direct approach to censorship affects not only the citizens of a particular country, but all users who speak these languages, no matter where they live in the world,” says the report.
What TikTok says
TikTok claims that some terms are restricted due to local laws. Also, it fixed an issue that incorrectly moderated some Arabic phrases.
In Australia, there are also complications related to the ban on social networking in the United States. ByteDance, the owner of TikTok, may sell it to a U.S. company to avoid sanctions from the Donald Trump administration. The platform has been criticized, among others, for lack of transparency.
In a statement, a TikTok spokesman said that user data “is stored in the United States and Singapore, with strict controls on employee access”. The company also says that the information is never shared with the Chinese government and that it would not do so if requested.