Tiktok Is So Political

Tiktok CEO Takes A Stand

Since the beginning of June, Kevin Mayer has been the new CEO of Tiktok and also head of the operational business of the parent company Bytedance. On his first day at work he is said to have announced: “Never before has it been more important to support black employees, users, creators, artists and our entire community. I ask our community to hold us responsible for all measures that we take in the coming weeks, months and years. ”The company clearly positioned itself in the politically explosive racism debate. What sounds obvious is still surprising. After all, Tiktok’s competitors, especially Facebook, mostly have a hard time adopting a clear stance in political debates.

Tiktok is not only a platform for social debates, the network itself wants to call for activism with its own initiative. With “Tiktok for good”, the platform wants to motivate them to do good, as the company says itself. For example, the campaign should draw attention to climate change. For this purpose, Tiktok made various filters, stickers and special effects available to its users, which should underpin the campaign goal. With a glowing thermometer, for example, users can show in their videos how the climate has warmed up. True to the motto: Attention is the first step towards improvement.

Are Chinese-Critical Content Censored?

With the initiative and the statement from CEO Mayer, the company naturally presents itself at its best. It almost looks like entertaining entertainment and activism go hand in hand at Tiktok. If you have followed the media reports of the past, this seems to be only one side of the coin. The Chinese platform was repeatedly criticized because it was suspected of banning Chinese-critical content from the app. Research should have shown that Tiktok would specifically suppress contributions from political protests and demonstrations. Videos of the Hong Kong protests, in particular, should have been hidden.

When asked about the multiple allegations, a spokeswoman for the company said: “We do not moderate content due to its political orientation. Our moderation decisions are not influenced by any government, not even the Chinese. ”The community guidelines are said to be the basis for moderating inappropriate content.

“Misinformation” Will Be Removed

They are open to view and in fact, hardly allow any conclusions to be drawn about manipulative practices. However, Tiktok also asked to remove misinformation that could harm a person’s health or public safety. “We also remove content that is distributed as part of disinformation campaigns,” it continues. Since the German spokeswoman for Tiktok does not specify this statement in more detail, there is scope for interpretation. Who decides under what criteria what is misinformation? Finally, it is clear that the protests in Hong Kong are a different reality for the protesters than for the Chinese regime.

To what extent the allegations against Tiktok are justified can only be clarified with difficulty. As a private user of Tiktok, the impression remains that the app is very good for social opinion and political exchange and does not only invite you to dance or make-up videos. Admittedly, this view of the platform is very Eurocentric. The extent to which critical and, above all, Chinese-critical content is actually blocked remains generally hidden from the user.

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