01.10.2022

TikTok Admits to Deleting Russian Videos at Government’s Request

TikTok has deleted hundreds of Russian videos at the government’s request since the start of 2020, the popular short video app’s European policy executive said this week.

The Chinese-owned app removed or restricted nearly 700 videos worldwide following government requests between Jan. 1-June 30, according to its latest transparency report published this week.

Nearly 300 pieces of content were taken down or restricted at the Russian government’s request. The transparency report does not specify what types of content were restricted.

“I think the Russian law is terrible and our community does too, and they strongly voice that on the platform,” TikTok’s director of government relations and public policy in Europe, Theo Bertram, told British lawmakers in response to a question on whether TikTok’s content moderation complies with the laws of “homophobic, regressive” regimes.

“But unfortunately we have to comply with the legal requests in the country we operate,” Bertram said Tuesday in the British parliament’s digital and media committee hearing.

A TikTok representative in Russia denied that the platform took down LGBT content at the government’s request, saying the deleted and restricted videos “have nothing to do with LGBT people.”

TikTok pledged to cooperate with Russian authorities in the summer of 2019 after Russia’s state media regulator announced a probe into whether the app distributed child pornography or other banned content.

Overall, TikTok said in its transparency report that it banned more than 104 million videos that violated its policies, including adult nudity, suicide, drug use and hate speech.

Putin ‘Saved’ Navalny’s Life – Head of Russian Duma

The head of Russia’s lower house of parliament on Thursday accused “shameless” opposition leader Alexei Navalny of working for Western security services and said President Vladimir Putin had saved his life.

Duma chairman Vyacheslav Volodin’s remarks came after 44-year-old Navalny accused Putin of orchestrating his poisoning in the anti-corruption campaigner’s first published interview since he left the German hospital where he was treated.

“I assert that Putin is behind this act, I don’t see any other explanation,” he told the German weekly Der Spiegel.

Volodin said Putin had “saved” Navalny’s life after the opposition figure was poisoned with what Germany says was a Soviet-designed nerve agent, Novichok, and accused the Kremlin critic of working for Western security services.

“Navalny is a shameless and mean man,” Volodin said in a statement released by the lower house of parliament.

“Everyone — from pilots to doctors to the President — were sincerely saving him,” Volodin added.

“Only a dishonorable man can make such statements,” he said in an apparent reference to Navalny’s claim that Putin was behind the poisoning.

“It is absolutely obvious that Navalny is working with the security services and authorities of Western countries.”

Navalny was evacuated to Berlin for treatment after he collapsed in August on a flight from Tomsk to Moscow after a campaign trip to support opposition candidates in local elections.

The Kremlin critic was discharged just over a week ago.

Navalny also vowed to return to Russia as soon as he has fully recovered, saying he would not give Putin the pleasure of being in exile.

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