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TikTok Asked by Russia to Not Recommend Military Content to Minors

Russia has ramped up pressure on sites during the Ukraine conflict.

TikTok Asked by Russia to Not Recommend Military Content to Minors

A TikTok spokeswoman confirmed it had restricted access to Russian state media outlets RT and Sputnik

Highlights
  • TikTok is popular with younger users
  • TikTok also has a version aimed at children under 13
  • TikTok is owned by Chinese tech giant ByteDance

Russia's communications regulator on Monday demanded TikTok stop including military-related content in recommended posts for minors, in an announcement shared in its official Telegram channel.

The regulator Roskomnadzor said it had identified content on the video-sharing app related to Russia's "special military operation" in Ukraine and that a lot of it was anti-Russian in character.

Russia, which has fined tech firms and hobbled their services in the country during a long stand-off with Big Tech platforms, has ramped up pressure on sites during the conflict.

A TikTok spokeswoman on Monday also confirmed that it had restricted access to Russian state media outlets RT and Sputnik across the European Union, after the organisations were hit with sanctions by the EU. Facebook-owner Meta Platforms also blocked access to the two outlets.

TikTok is popular with younger users and also has a version aimed at children under 13. It was not clear exactly what the Russian regulator meant in saying TikTok was recommending content specifically to minors. The company has recently said it is testing age-rated content restrictions.

TikTok, which is owned by Chinese tech giant ByteDance, did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Roskomnadzor's demands.

The app, which was originally known for lip-syncing videos and viral dance trends, has been widely used to document events and share news in the run-up to and during Russia's invasion of Ukraine. It has also seen the spread of misleading footage about the conflict.

© Thomson Reuters 2022


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