THE ByteDance, owner of TikTok, censored anti-China content in an Indonesian news app. According to Reuters this Thursday (13th), moderators of BaBe (Baca Berita) from Indonesia were instructed by a team established at the Chinese company’s headquarters in Beijing to remove publications that oppose the Chinese government.
The reports come from six people familiar with the matter. They tell the news agency that content criticizing the Chinese government was censored until mid-2020 based on guidelines given to the app’s moderators after the acquisition of all operations of the Indonesian app in 2018, following the agreements made with the local government to reverse the ban on TikTok in Indonesia.
To The Verge, a Baca Berita spokesman states that “in our early days, before we were able to adopt the more localized approach we use today, BaBe had some moderation practices that were not consistent with our philosophy of getting the team Indonesia to decide what is appropriate for its market ”.
“These guidelines were replaced in 2019 and, since then, we have built and trained local moderation teams to make appropriate decisions for the local market,” they explained to the specialized website on Thursday (13).
Sought by Reuters, ByteDance did not comment further on the matter.
TikTok and WeChat should be banned from the United States
TikTok and WeChat could be banned from the United States soon. On the last 6, President Donald Trump signed executive orders that forbid US companies from doing business with ByteDance and Tencent for threatening “national security, foreign policy and the US economy”. The measures take effect on September 20.
The future of Chinese apps, however, is uncertain, as executive orders did not spell out the ban on TikTok and WeChat in the country. For Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook CEO, the ban on the social network could set a bad precedent in other countries. Other US companies are concerned about banning the messenger.
TikTok is also investigated in France, by the National Commission for Informatics and Liberties (CNIL), for the use of user data.