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Chinese-Owned TikTok Censored War against Ukraine for Russians Only, Created ‘Alternate Universe’

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China is publicly siding with Russia politically in its inhumane invasion of Ukraine, but when it comes to technology, things are a bit more convoluted. Last month TikTok seemingly joined other big tech companies siding with Ukraine over Russia in the war by suspending uploads and live streams from Russia.

TikTok said it made the move, along with others, to “protect Russia users from the country’s new laws criminalizing criticism of its military” , reports The Washington Post. However, the Chinese-owned social media app “also walled off Russian users from seeing any posts at all from outside the country, including from Ukraine.”

Thus, a censored, ‘alternate universe’ was created for tens of millions of Russians who were unable to see and learn of the critical posts and atrocities the Kremlin was creating outside the Russian TikTok bubble.

Giulia Giorgi, a researcher at Tracking Exposed shared with The Washington Post that “in just one month, TikTok went from being considered a serious threat to Putin’s national support for the war to becoming another possible conduit for state propaganda.”

Tracking exposed has been studying the platform’s policies and actions in Russia since February when the invasion of Ukraine began. “Our findings show clearly how TikTok’s actions influenced that trajectory” Giorgi said of the escalation of state propaganda.

Giorgi shared information with The Washington Post “that videos bearing pro-war hashtags such as ‘for us’ and ‘Putin top’ continued to proliferate on TikTok in Russia for weeks after the block, while previously popular antiwar hashtags all but vanished from the platform.”

Tracking Exposed’s co-director added “our findings unequivocally show that TikTok is not being transparent about its actions in Russia” said Marc Faddoul.

The Washington Post reports:

Among the new findings is that TikTok appears to have belatedly closed a loophole in late March that Russian propagandists and creators alike had been exploiting to evade its ban on new video uploads from inside the country. Since March 26, according to Tracking Exposed and others, TikTok users who access the app from Russia cannot see any new content at all, with the app’s For You page limited to posts from inside Russia before that date. Yet thousands of pro-Putin posts that went up between March 6 and March 26, circumventing TikTok’s stated policies, remain available on the platform, uncontested by any outside or antiwar narratives.

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1 Comment

  1. Marianne Louise Garvens

    April 17, 2022 at 8:49 am

    I may have misunderstood the article but …

    Sounds like Tik Toc is trying to ’trick’ the world into believing an ‘alternate universe’ making it ‘appear’ China is not helping Russia

    Of course I could be wrong, but their actions seem odd and contrary to the past and logic

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International

Report: Ukraine Sunk Russian Warship By Using US Intel

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Ukraine sunk the Russian warship Moskva last month using United States intelligence, according to a new report from NBC News.

“A guided missile cruiser carrying a crew of 510, the Moskva was the flagship of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet,” NBC News reported. “It sank on April 14 after being struck by two Ukrainian Neptune anti-ship missiles, U.S. officials said. Moscow said the vessel sank after a fire. The Moskva was the largest Russian warship sunk in combat since World War II. American officials said there were significant Russian casualties, but they don’t know how many.”

“The attack happened after Ukrainian forces asked the Americans about a ship sailing in the Black Sea south of Odesa, U.S. officials told NBC News,” the outlet added. “The U.S. identified it as the Moskva, officials said, and helped confirm its location, after which the Ukrainians targeted the ship.”

The news comes the day after a report from The New York Times revealed that the United States has provided Ukraine with intelligence on Russian military units that has enabled the country to kill multiple Russian generals.

“The targeting help is part of a classified effort by the Biden administration to provide real-time battlefield intelligence to Ukraine,” The New York Times reported. “That intelligence also includes anticipated Russian troop movements gleaned from recent American assessments of Moscow’s secret battle plan for the fighting in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine, the officials said. Officials declined to specify how many generals had been killed as a result of U.S. assistance.”

“The United States has focused on providing the location and other details about the Russian military’s mobile headquarters, which relocate frequently,” the outlet added. “Ukrainian officials have combined that geographic information with their own intelligence — including intercepted communications that alert the Ukrainian military to the presence of senior Russian officers — to conduct artillery strikes and other attacks that have killed Russian officers.”

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Putin’s Personal Cameraman Quit After Recording His Invasion Speech

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Russian President Vladimir Putin’s personal cameraman, Ilya Filatov, reportedly quit his job immediately after filming Putin’s announcement that he would be invading Ukraine.

The timing of Filatov’s exit from a job that he had for over a decade led to speculation that he actually faced dismissal because of negative comments he allegedly made about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

However, Filatov “denies this version,” according to independent Russian news site The Insider, which is banned in Russia. Filatov claims that he quit because he “reached the ceiling in the profession” and that he was “tired of sitting in quarantine for many months,” which he was required to do to reduce the likelihood he could contract COVID-19 and infect Putin.

Filatov’s sudden departure from his long time role as Putin’s cameraman was part of a pattern of Russian employee exits following comments suggesting opposition to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. As explained by The Insider, “Since the beginning of Russia’s military invasion of Ukraine, one by one employees of Russian TV channels have been fired or left the frame. On April 21, Alexander Gurevich, the host of the One Hundred to One program, resigned from the VGTRK . Prior to this, anti-war comments on his behalf appeared under the episodes of the show on YouTube. In March, it became known that Zhanna Agalakova, an employee of Channel One, quit , and journalist Vadim Glusker quit NTV.”

The Insider also noted how Marina Ovsyannikova, an employee of Channel One, “broke into the live newscast for a few seconds with a poster “Stop the war! Don’t believe the propaganda, they lie to you here.” Before the action, she recorded a video message in which she condemned the actions of the Russian army on the territory of Ukraine. On March 15, the journalist was fined 30,000 rubles. In April, she became a freelance correspondent for the German Welt.”

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