TikTok's first transparency report says China made 0 censorship or information requests in the first half of 2019, while the US made 85


TikTok App close up

  • Social media startup TikTok has published its first ever transparency report, which shows how many times any government or law enforcement agency asks that content be removed or hand over information about users.
  • TikTok claimed the Chinese government did not make any content removal or information requests for the first half of 2019. It said the US submitted 85 requests.
  • TikTok is owned by a Chinese parent firm, ByteDance, and has been accused of censoring content that would irk the Chinese government.
  • India made the most requests, with 107 requests.
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Social media startup TikTok has published its first ever transparency report, claiming that the Chinese government did not submit any requests for content removal or for information about users in the first half of 2019.

Transparency reports are published by all the major tech firms, and show how many requests they have received from national government or law enforcement officials either to remove content, or to hand over information about users.

TikTok’s report shows that the US and India were most active in both content removal requests and in requesting information about users. It said the US made 85 requests in total, while India submitted 118. In many cases, TikTok complied with the requests.

China does not appear on TikTok’s list, and the report states in a footnote that any country not listed did not make any requests to TikTok for content to be removed.

TikTok said in its report: “This report is just the latest effort in our commitment to being transparent with our community about the ways we maintain the app experience users expect while providing the protections they deserve.”

FILE PHOTO: TikTok logo is displayed on the smartphone while standing on the U.S. flag in this illustration picture taken, November 8, 2019. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/File Photo

The social media site, which lets its users create and share short videos, is owned by ByteDance, a Beijing-based internet tech unicorn.

TikTok is targeted at non-Chinese users, while a homegrown and more restricted version called Douyin is available in China. Still, TikTok has been subject to claims that it kowtows to the Chinese government and removes videos that might upset the regime.

Despite TikTok’s claim that the Chinese government submitted no requests for content removal, it was accused in September of advising its moderators to censor content likely to displease Beijing after The Guardian obtained and published leaked documents. ByteDance said the rules were no longer in place.

SEE ALSO: TikTok is a ‘wild west’ for influencers. Here are some of the ways they’re trying to make money on the viral video app.

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