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In its transparency report, Chinese social media app TikTok has revealed that it took down 49 million videos for various reports of content violation in the second half of 2019. The company also revealed that it got over 500 requests from various governments during the same time, almost double than what it got in the first half of the year.
India, which had blocked the application along with 58 other applications from China, had over 16.5 million videos removed due to content violations. This is as much as four times more than any other country while the U.S. got over 4.6 million videos removed from the platform. Incidentally, the Trump administration has appreciated India’s decision of banning the app and is reportedly looking to do the same.
Adult nudity and sexual activities were reported as one of the most prominent reasons behind content removal and one in four videos that were removed were due to the same reason. Though reason like hate speech, integrity and authenticity, and dangerous individuals and organizations were behind 1% of the removals while violence, alcohol and drug taking, self-harm or suicide were among the other major reasons reported by the company.
TikTok claims that it took down 89% of such videos even before they were able to grab any eyeballs.
Additionally, TikTok also revealed that it has seen a massive rise in requests to share data by Government or law enforcement agencies. It received over 500 such requests in the second half of 2019 compared to the count of 298 queries in the first half of the year.
India, which is the biggest market for TikTok, made 300 such requests out of which TikTok claims to have shared information in 90% of such cases. The US, on the other hand, made around 100 requests out of which the company complied in 82% cases. Also, most content removal requests came from India.
ByteDance, which owns TikTok, claims that it did not receive any account information or content removal related requests from the Chinese government. While the Chinese Government is notoriously control freak, this could me majorly because TikTok isn’t active in China instead the company has another app called Douyin specifically for China. Hence, any such request from the Communist Party of China would be parked under Douyin and the company did not clarify if any other report that carries such information would be shared.
TikTok has been surrounded in controversy for a long time especially in India. While earlier it was banned due to its lack of control and inability to sensor pornographic content and this time TikTok along with other apps have been accused of sharing details with the Chinese government and have been banned in the country again.