China-based video-sharing social networking app, TikTok, released its first transparency report last week, which lists content removal list and legal requests for user information. In both of these lists, India tops the charts, followed by USA and Japan.
According to the TikTok’s report, in the first half of 2019 (January to June), India requested user information 99 times (some information was produced in 47% of those), followed by USA at 68 (86% of data shared) and Japan at 28 (21% of data shared).
The same report also detailed the number of content removal requests by governments during the same period that required the platform to take down some content that was deemed to violate the local laws. That list is also topped by India at 11 (4 removals), followed by USA at 6 (1 removal) and Japan at 3 (1 removal).
TikTok’s transparency report has no mention of China whatsoever, which is baffling given the government’s record to suppress any form of dissent. In November 2019, TikTok had issued an apology for taking down a user account and removing a viral video posted by the account related to abuses suffered by the Uighur community in the detention camps in China. TikTok says that the video was taken down due to a moderation error and not because it contained China-related content.
Besides, the report also mentions that a total of 3345 requests on violation of copyright law such as the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) had been received, of which 85% of the content was removed. Only the copyright content take-down notices from copyright owners, their agencies or attorneys have been taken into account.
A report covering the second half of 2019 will also be released in the coming months.
“In balancing our responsibilities to law enforcement with our respect for the privacy of our users, we respond only to legally valid requests and only with the requisite amount of information needed,” Eric Ebenstein, Public Policy, TikTok writes in a company announcement.