Not to mention Tiananmen Square on TikTok, nor the independence of Tibet. While you're at it, you also ignore Falun Gong, you never know, and maybe don't mention Gandhi, or Trump, and maybe even avoid talking about Cambodia or Taiwan. And then at the bottom chettifrega, you're here to have fun, you're here to look for your likes, you're here to spend a few hours in the company, certainly not to change the world. Sing, dance, smile: you're on TikTok!
The censorship of TikTok
On days when questions are asked about Facebook's role in election campaigns; in the hours when Facebook promises not to want to have a say in politics; in the moments in which one questions the power of Facebook in the freedom of expression; in the days when one wonders if social networks should be regulated or freed up in a more convenient way laissez-faire; a few days from that 2019 Internet Festival where you will ask yourself who should write the rules of the game (and which ones, and how). Precisely in this context, here is the Guardian's discovery that puts before our eyes the hot water that no one has discovered and that we all pretend to ignore: situations like that of TikTok could not only happen, but happen and we do not know it until it's not someone to let them leak out.
The document told by The Guardian is the cornerstone that traces the guidelines of the censorship on TikTok, the one that establishes which contents can be accepted and which are instead limited. There are two ways of intervening: in some cases the contents are expressly removed, clearly blocked to avoid the maximum disclosure; in other cases a less radical system intervenes that limits the vision of the video to its own owner without allowing the vision of others. What we do not know (and this could perhaps be questioned more alarmingly) is whether in the algorithms of the platform there can be parameters with which to forge an ideology or discourage another, shaping the mass through thin (invisible) manipulations of the virality.
The censorship also prohibits the appearance of figures such as Kim Jong-il, Kim Il-sung, Mahatma Gandhi, Vladimir Putin, Donald Trump, Barack Obama, Kim Jong-un, Shinzo Abe, and others, but not Chinese leader Xi Jinping (on which the censorship probably works in a more capillary way, approving favorable uploads and deploring those inconvenient to state propaganda).
The response of the Chinese Bytedance (the group that at the time acquired Musical.ly and then renamed it TikTok) did not wait long, explaining that the leaked document was withdrawn a few months ago. Although it is not explained what you mention in the current version of internal policies, the group makes it clear that the rules are designed to reduce conflicts and stifle dystonia. Furthermore, with the opening of the Bytedance empire to the whole world, it was immediately clear how the Chinese rules could no longer be absolutely valid and that they served national teams that could act in a localized way based on rules, practices, culture and habits local. The group promises transparency, but in no passage does it explain how the new rules will be, nor how and how much freedom of expression will be guaranteed.
Moreover, the export of its own companies is also an export of its ideals. Sing, dance, smile, but be careful: you have to do it differently if you're on Facebook or if you're on TikTok!