ByteDance (TikTok owner) may find itself in the US in lawful trouble over claims that it is censoring criticism of China in other regions of the globe. Marco Rubio (Senator) has issued a letter to Steven Mnuchin (Treasury Secretary) requesting the CFIUS (Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States) to evaluate ByteDance’s acquirement of Musical.ly in view of the censorship blames. He claimed that there was “growing and ample proof” that TikTok was silencing US material to admire Chinese government rules, efficiently allowing it “restrain freedom of speech” beyond its limits.
TikTok supposedly asked its mediators to pull mentions of topics such as Tibet’s calls for independence, the Tiananmen Square slaughter, and other content that confronts the version of events by the Chinese government. The service claimed that it had retired the rules in May and that it had been employing a “blunt method” to lowering drama on TikTok that comprised prohibiting talk of all subjects it thought controversial, not just those from China.
Whether or not there is truth in the claims, Rubio has impetus on his end. The US just included 8 Chinese tech firms to its Entity List over their assistance with suppression of Muslim minorities in China. In addition to this, Blizzard is encountering a wave of disapproval for prohibiting an esports player that announced support for pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong. Combine that with previous actions in opposition to Huawei and ByteDance might encounter distrust even if its present methods are above-board.
On a relate note, a US spokesperson of TikTok talking to media claimed that the Chinese government “does not ask for” censorship on its platform. The US data is amassed in the US, she claimed, and China would not have authority over TikTok since it is not used there. Chinese people rather employ Douyin, a virtually indistinguishable application that is subject to censorship in China.