TikTok Not Working in Russia

Video sharing app TikTok on Sunday said it would be suspending uploading of new videos and live-streaming of content on its platform in Russia.

The Chinese-owned app said it is taking the decision to suspend the services in response to the new “fake news” law imposed in Russia last Friday, as it wants to keep its employees and users safe.

For those unaware, the Russian lawmakers have passed a new media law that imposes prison sentences of up to 15 years for those spreading “false information” about Russia’s military and/or government.

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“TikTok is an outlet for creativity and entertainment that can provide a source of relief and human connection during a time of war when people are facing immense tragedy and isolation. However, the safety of our employees and our users remain our highest priority,” the company said in a press release.

“In light of Russia’s new ‘fake news’ law, we have no choice but to suspend livestreaming and new content to our video service while we review the safety implications of this law.”

However, Tiktok’s in-app messaging service will not be affected, which means TikTok users in Russia can continue to message their contacts and friends in other countries. Also, the videos will now appear in “view-only” mode wherein the users will be able to view older videos if they are sent from within the country but not from other places in the world.

TikTok is not the first social platform to suspend its services in Russia after the attack on Ukraine. Recently, Facebook, YouTube, and other social media networks had blocked access to Russian-backed media outlets in the European Union (EU), Ukraine, and the UK to prevent the spread of misinformation and propaganda.

In response to the above, Roskomnadzor, Russia’s telecom regulator, last week had blocked access to Facebook citing 26 cases of “discrimination” against Russian media and information resources since October 2020.

Responding to this, Nick Clegg, President of Global Affairs for Facebook’s parent company, Meta, said it was working to keep their services available to the greatest extent possible, it said it would be pausing ads targeting people in Russia and barring advertisers within Russia to create or run ads anywhere in the world “due to the difficulties of operating in the country at this time”.