An unforeseen twist in the tale of Trump vs TikTok sees TikTok remove content related to President Trump, following the storming of the Capitol Building last week.
We first reported on the Trump administration’s intention to ban the popular Chinese-owned short-video platform back in July. Back then, it seemed highly likely that the platform would be banned in the U.S. as a result of growing concerns over national security, due to the belief that TikTok’s parent company ByteDance was sharing data with the Chinese Communist Party.
Despite ByteDance repeatedly denying the accusations and no real evidence to support the claims surfacing, President Trump proceeded with the protocols to have the platform banned - and he almost succeeded. A last-minute deal with American owned companies Oracle and Walmart back in September, resulted in a delay to the ban as it was considered to be a “positive development” in the on-going saga.
Now though, it seems that the disturbing scenes that emerged from Washington last week presented a unique opportunity for an ironic turn of events. Following the invasion of the Capitol Building, TikTok along with several other social media platforms decided to remove all content related to the incident which incited violence or provided misinformation.
Although President Trump does not have a TikTok account, the app removed videos of the President’s speeches and is proactively blocking hashtags relating to the attack on the Capitol - including #stopthesteal a campaign to overturn the result of the U.S Presidential election. TikTok stated that the removed content violated their misinformation policy. The platform says that it encourages discourse and respectful conversations but it will not support narratives which it deems to be inaccurate or false.
"Hateful behavior and violence have no place on TikTok. Content or accounts that seek to incite, glorify, or promote violence violate our Community Guidelines and will be removed," said a spokesperson for TikTok.
TikTok will still allow counter speech against the movement as well as content that disputes the President’s claims of election fraud. The platform believes this type of content provides an important commentary. The app also confirmed that it will be allowing some videos which contain violence from the Capitol building attack to remain. Included in the exemption will be content from news organisations and content that condemns the violence, as reported by Digital Music News. TikTok will also be providing an opt-in view feature on videos that may cause offence or distress to allow users the opportunity to decide to avoid the content or to view it.
So there you have it, an odd tale of distrust. A roller-coaster ride that started with Trump accusing TikTok of posing a threat to national security; to the President himself inciting a national security breach.
Strange times we live in.
By Darren Hay