US senators express concern over Russian “pro-war propaganda” on TikTok

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US lawmakers said in a letter that TikTok is enabling the spread of pro-war propaganda to the Russians.

Wellington:

Republican senators on Friday asked TikTok Chief Executive Shou Zi Chew about reports that the social media site had allowed state-approved media content but blocked other videos.

“Recent reports indicate that TikTok… has enabled Russian state media to flood the platform with dangerous pro-war propaganda. No company should be in a position to amplify the Kremlin’s lies, which are destabilizing public support for fueling the Russian war of choice in Ukraine,” said the letter, led by Steve Daines and signed by John Cornyn, Roger Wicker, John Barrasso, James Lankford and Cynthia Lummis.

The senators wrote that they were “deeply concerned” that TikTok is “facilitating the spread of pro-war propaganda to the Russian public, which could add to an already devastating human toll on Ukrainians and Russians alike.”

The Russian embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to requests for comment. TikTok said in a statement to Reuters that the company looks forward to staying in touch with members about these issues and answering their questions.

Reuters reported in March that the Chinese video app said it would suspend live streaming and video uploading to its platform in Russia as it assessed the implications of a new media law signed by President Vladimir Putin.

The senators said TikTok has failed to “equally enforce this policy,” citing a news report stating that “TikTok allegedly closed this loophole on March 25.”

The letter added that “misleading, pro-regime content that flooded the service has not been removed, creating an easily accessible archive of pro-war propaganda” and asked TikTok to answer a series of questions.

TikTok, owned by Beijing-based internet technology company ByteDance, is under increasing US control over the personal data it processes. At a congressional hearing last October, the company was faced with tough questions from US lawmakers.

Senator Marsha Blackburn, the panel’s top Republican, said she was concerned about TikTok’s data collection, including audio and a user’s location, and the potential for the Chinese government to access the information. Blackburn asked TikTok if the company could resist providing data to the Chinese government if material were demanded.

TikTok is one of the world’s most popular social media apps, with over 1 billion active users worldwide.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.)



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