China’s social media giant TikTok announced on Sunday the suspension of the publication of all video content from Russia to maintain the safety of its employees and comply with new laws against “fake news” in that country.
“In light of Russia’s new ‘fake news’ law, we have no choice but to suspend live streaming and new content from our video service while we review the security implications of this law,” the company said in a statement. Twitter, although it clarified that its messaging service will not be affected.
“We will continue to assess the changing circumstances in Russia to determine when we could fully resume our services with security as our top priority,” added the platform that has more than 1,000 million users in the world.
According to an Insider Intelligence study released this week, by the end of 2021 TikTok it had about 24.7 million accounts in Russia.
the russian president Vladimir Putin enacted a law on Friday that provides prison sentences of up to 15 years for those who publish “fake news” about the Russian army, at a time when it is carrying out a war in ukraine.
The law was heavily criticized, but he defended it on the grounds that the country is facing “an information war” that requires countermeasures.
In his Twitter thread, TikTok described itself as “an outlet for creativity and entertainment that can provide relief and human connection during a time of war, when people face immense tragedy and isolation.”
In a longer statement on its website, the platform said the “devastating” war in Ukraine, in addition to causing widespread suffering across the country, “brought pain to our community and our people.”
“And as a platform, this war has challenged us to face a complex and rapidly changing environment as we seek to be a canvas, a window and a bridge for people around the world,” he said.
It added that it recognizes “the increased risk and impact of misleading information during times of crisis” and is working to improve its security measures.