Douyin removes over 3,500 Ukraine war videos, Digital News

Douyin, operator of the Chinese version of hit short-video sharing app TikTok, said he deleted more than 3,500 videos and 12,100 comments related to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as the war became a topic. burning online in the world’s largest Internet marketplace. .

Douyin, owned by ByteDance, said it continues to investigate violations “such as vulgar ridicule, content that pokes fun at war, incitement to spread false information, and hostile comments,” it said. the app operator in a statement on Monday, February 28, citing provocative messages such as “type ‘Ukraine’ to see the effect of explosions”.

His action comes after major Chinese social media platforms on Saturday announced their moves to crack down on misinformation and other inappropriate content amid heightened local netizen interest in the war in Ukraine.

Videos, such as those calling for the “capture of beautiful Ukrainian women”, convey inappropriate values ​​and damage the mood of the platform, Douyin said on his WeChat account on Saturday.

ByteDance, the world’s most valuable unicorn, said Monday it had no further comment on the matter.

The efforts by Douyin, Tencent Holdings’ WeChat and microblogging service Weibo reflect Beijing’s call for caution over online comments about the military conflict, which could stoke anger towards Chinese citizens overseas.

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Russia’s incursion into Ukraine has sparked heated debate on Chinese social media, with some users sympathizing with the plight of Ukrainians and others mocking the war and cheering Russia’s aggression.

A search for the keyword “Ukraine” on Douyin brings up a special topic page that links to the news aggregator run by ByteDance Jinri Toutiao, containing sections such as “live broadcast”, “reports from the field”, ” voice of the inhabitants”, “refuting the rumour” and “explanation of the war situation”.

Ukraine-based Douyin content creators have regularly updated their status on the platform.

A user from the eastern province of Shandong named Jason, who has almost 900,000 subscribers, filmed a video when he and his girlfriend heard sirens in Ukraine at midnight. He showed how everyone in the apartment building where they lived had to move into an air-raid shelter.

Douyin, which has more than 600 million daily active users, finds itself playing a role in helping shape the Chinese public’s understanding of the war in Ukraine. This in light of Beijing’s refusal to directly endorse Russia or label its military operation an “invasion”, which has created divisions among Chinese social media users.

At the same time, TikTok has become part of Russia’s war arsenal to shape opinion through orchestrated disinformation. Various international social media platforms – including Facebook, Twitter and YouTube – have taken down accounts used for misinformation. TikTok has yet to make a public announcement about it.

TikTok is hugely popular in Ukraine and Russia, where soldiers have been warned to avoid posting to avoid revealing troop movements.

READ ALSO: The Events Leading Up To The Russian Invasion Of Ukraine

This article was first published in South China Morning Post.

John C. Dent