TikTok has blocked all non-Russian content in Russia, but allows historical content uploaded by national accounts to remain online, including videos from state-backed media services.
The Chinese-owned video-sharing app said on Sunday it had banned live streaming and uploading of new content in Russia after the Kremlin criminalized the dissemination of what it considers fake news about his invasion of Ukraine.
TikTok’s measures have extended to blocking all non-Russian content, meaning the only content Russian users can see are old videos uploaded by Russian-based accounts.
Russian access to Internet content from inside and outside Russia was severely reduced by the Ukrainian invasion. Facebook and Twitter have had their services blocked by Russia’s communications regulator after the platforms pulled content from news providers backed by state media across Europe. Twitter launched a privacy-protected version of its site to circumvent surveillance and censorship.
Follow-up.explained, an EU-based nonprofit that studies internet user profiling and tracking, described TikTok’s move as establishing a “splinternet” within a global social media platform. He said, “This is the first time a global social media platform has split content availability on such a scale.”
According to tracking.exposed, which used Russian IP addresses to attempt to access non-Russian TikTok content, the accounts of the World Health Organization and popular TikToker Charli D’Amelio – who has 137.6 million followers – are among those inaccessible in Russia.
On Sunday, TikTok said it did not want to expose its Russian employees or users to harsh criminal penalties, as it described the service as a source of “wartime relief and human connection”. TikTok is the 10th most popular app in Russia.
The app now applies labels to some state-controlled media accounts, including in Russia, with content on state-owned news provider accounts. like Mug now labeled as “Russian state-controlled media”.