TikTok Accused of Biased Censorship

Marcella+Hubbard-Brucher+looking+at+a+censored+Tik+Tok+post.

Nathaniel Howard

Marcella Hubbard-Brucher looking at a censored Tik Tok post.

Maggie Rand, a junior at Triton said that she has never seen a post related to the Hong Kong protests and believes that TikTok is censoring them. She also said that videos she posted herself have been taken down before for violating community guidelines, which she disagrees with. 

The viral app TikTok has recently been suspected of censoring videos that relate to the Hong Kong protests. TikTok is owned by the Chinese company ByteDance.

According to an article by The New York Times titled, “China’s TikTok Blazes New Ground. That Could Doom It,” three U.S. senators have asked the Trump Administration to review TikTok because of its potential national security and privacy threats. They warned that ByteDance could censor content that does not align with the views of the Communist Party, such as pro-democracy posts about the Hong Kong protests.

TikTok was the most downloaded app worldwide on Apple’s App Store in 2019 Q1. Multiple students at Triton that said that they go on TikTok between once a week and multiple times a day also said that they have never seen posts about Hong Kong protests. 

Information about the protests that could politically guide the youth and other users of the app is seemingly being hidden.

I heard that they were monitoring and filtering these posts (about the Hong Kong protests) because they don’t want the public to be informed about it”

— Kyla Prussman, a Junior at Triton

,” said Kyla Prussman, a junior at Triton and everyday TikTok User.

According to an article by the Washington Post titled, “TikTok’s Beijing roots fuel censorship suspicion as it builds a huge U.S. audience,” ByteDance has spoken out against these accusations in a public statement. ByteDance said that U.S. user data is stored domestically and that moderation policies are led by an unbiased U.S. based team. They also rejected the request to have executives available for interviews. 

“I think that’s wrong,” said Derek Cotter, a Junior at Triton and occasional TikTok user. “It’s everyone’s right to free speech and they shouldn’t silence people and their opinions.”

If more people feel that TikTok is violating their free speech TikTok could have a problem with it’s users not supporting them in the near future.