TikTok recently announced that their app had been downloaded 1.5 billion times and calling that feat impressive is an understatement. In fact, it ranks them 3rd globally among non-gaming apps downloaded this year trailing behind WhatsApp and Messenger only.
Behind all that success, however, are questions regarding how the application owned by a parent Chinese-company is handling user data and whether or not videos are reviewed and in some cases censored.
I stumbled upon a Twitter account that broke down what appears to be a review process for videos uploaded onto TikTok:
Judging from the tweet, it seems there is some reviewing that took place when a video containing the text “Xi Jinping” (the President of China) was uploaded.
Videos with text including his name take much longer to upload compared to videos with other words and names. The other concerns about this video are the fact that the upload was done from outside of China (in the US).
The account that posted the information did not go as far as saying TikTok is censoring but chose to stick with the term review:
Disclaimer: I am not claiming that Tiktok is actively censoring certain keywords. The videos I tested all passed review eventually. I am calling it a “review process” based on 1) Tiktok’s API and 2) the fact that a video isn’t publicly visible before the “review” is complete.
It seems that TikTok has now removed this review period for uploading videos:
It’s not clear if the removal of this review is worldwide considering that China is very strict about what goes on the internet but it appears for those making ordinary video content there might be nothing to worry about. If your content is related to Chinese politics and whatever other things they might have deemed review worthy then it might still get reviewed before getting uploaded.