” … Our highest priority is the safety of our employees and our users, and in light of Russia’s new ‘fake news’ law, we have no choice but to suspend livestreaming and new content to our video service in Russia while we review the safety implications of this law,” the company wrote in a blog post on March 6. TikTok confirmed to TechCrunch that the pause on Russian content from last month remains in place.
TikTok says that it has now added labels to identify content from 49 Russian state-controlled media accounts. Those labels appear as unobtrusive semi-translucent gray boxes at the bottom of the screen and are not visible from account pages on the mobile app. But in spite of carrying labels that identify them as “Russia state-controlled media,” some of those accounts continue to post ample new content.
While TikTok is likely controlling the flow of new content out of Russia by monitoring where users are located, it’s not clear why the company would opt to not enforce the rules against accounts it has already linked to the Russian government, even if those accounts used basic workarounds to disguise their location. The company declined to provide comment on the record.