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Washington Post explores TikTok-censorship ‘culture clash’


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TikTok’s difficult end-of-2019 in the US continues: now the Washington Post has been digging around in the company’s internal policies. ‘Inside TikTok: A culture clash where US views about censorship often were overridden by the Chinese bosses‘ is the Post’s headline, which is exactly the issue that’s been sparking calls by US politicians for a proper review of TikTok, and its parent company Bytedance’s acquisition of social app Musical·ly (obligatory note for newer readers: that company was nothing to do with us, Music Ally).

Anyway, back to the article: “American workers, accustomed to unrestrained expression online, bristled at commands to restrict videos that Beijing-based teams had deemed subversive or controversial, including heavy kissing, heated debates and the kinds of political discussions seen widely across the Web,” it claimed.

TikTok is given a right to reply, though: US general manager Vanessa Pappas says that TikTok’s rapid growth “has posed challenges in terms of making sure our policies and practices keep up”, adding that censorship decisions “are not directed by any foreign government, including the Chinese government” but rather by her team in the US. “And the company understands they can best do so without executives 10,000 miles away involving themselves in their decisions.”

Stuart Dredge

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