Support The Moscow Times!

TikTok Admits to Deleting Russian Videos at Government's Request

TikTok removed or restricted nearly 700 videos worldwide following government requests between Jan. 1-June 30. Zuma / TASS

TikTok has deleted hundreds of Russian videos at the government's request since the start of 2020, the popular short video app’s European policy executive said this week.

The Chinese-owned app removed or restricted nearly 700 videos worldwide following government requests between Jan. 1-June 30, according to its latest transparency report published this week.

Nearly 300 pieces of content were taken down or restricted at the Russian government's request. The transparency report does not specify what types of content were restricted.

“I think the Russian law is terrible and our community does too, and they strongly voice that on the platform,” TikTok’s director of government relations and public policy in Europe, Theo Bertram, told British lawmakers in response to a question on whether TikTok's content moderation complies with the laws of “homophobic, regressive” regimes.

“But unfortunately we have to comply with the legal requests in the country we operate,” Bertram said Tuesday in the British parliament’s digital and media committee hearing.

A TikTok representative in Russia denied that the platform took down LGBT content at the government's request, saying the deleted and restricted videos “have nothing to do with LGBT people.”

TikTok pledged to cooperate with Russian authorities in the summer of 2019 after Russia’s state media regulator announced a probe into whether the app distributed child pornography or other banned content.

Overall, TikTok said in its transparency report that it banned more than 104 million videos that violated its policies, including adult nudity, suicide, drug use and hate speech.

… we have a small favor to ask. As you may have heard, The Moscow Times, an independent news source for over 30 years, has been unjustly branded as a "foreign agent" by the Russian government. This blatant attempt to silence our voice is a direct assault on the integrity of journalism and the values we hold dear.

We, the journalists of The Moscow Times, refuse to be silenced. Our commitment to providing accurate and unbiased reporting on Russia remains unshaken. But we need your help to continue our critical mission.

Your support, no matter how small, makes a world of difference. If you can, please support us monthly starting from just $2. It's quick to set up, and you can be confident that you're making a significant impact every month by supporting open, independent journalism. Thank you.

paiment methods
Not ready to support today?
Remind me later.

Read more