November 05, 2019

Inside TikTok: A culture clash where U.S. views about censorship often were overridden by the Chinese bosses

Featuring Elsa B. Kania

Source: The Washington Post

Journalists Tony Romm, Drew Harwell

The wildly popular short-video app TikTok has become one of the world’s fastest-growing social media platforms, known for its quirky memes and viral singalongs. But its happy-go-lucky rise was largely shaped by its Beijing-based parent company, which imposed strict rules on what could appear on the app in keeping with China’s restrictive view of acceptable speech.

Following those rules often sparked clashes within the organization, former U.S. employees of the company told The Washington Post. American workers, accustomed to unrestrained expression online, bristled at commands to restrict videos that Beijing-based teams had deemed subversive or controversial, including heavy kissing, heated debates and the kinds of political discussions seen widely across the Web.

Read the full story and The Washington Post.

Authors

  • Elsa B. Kania

    Adjunct Senior Fellow, Technology and National Security Program

    Elsa B. Kania is an Adjunct Senior Fellow with the Technology and National Security Program at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS). Her research focuses on Chinese m...