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Ban on TikTok: Expert tells how social media moderates content

Sergei Sokolov, TikTok Director for Government Relations and Corporate Affairs in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, commented to journalists on the decision to block the platform in Kyrgyzstan.

According to him, TikTok established a direct channel of communication with the government of the country two years ago. This year, no appeals or complaints were received through this channel.

«So the decision to block TikTok in Kyrgyzstan came as a surprise to us. Upon hearing this news, we immediately got in touch with the competent authorities, including the Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of Digital Development. We arrived in Bishkek to personally meet with the leaders of interested departments and government agencies, dispel their concerns about the safety of the platform, resume the dialogue that was interrupted through no fault of ours and find a solution to the problem,» Sergei Sokolov said.

He also noted that the platform is transparent in terms of content moderation and publishes quarterly reports on compliance with community rules. They, among other things, reflect how much content was removed due to violations, for what reasons, and in what time frame.

TikTok independently removed more than 440,000 videos in 2023 due to rule violations in Kyrgyzstan.

«TikTok has several levels of protection against illegal or dangerous content. This includes automatic moderation, which removes the vast majority of content that breaks community guidelines before anyone sees it. There is also a team of moderators around the world who review controversial local content and remove it if violations are found. Now more than 40,000 people around the world, speaking different languages, provide security on the platform. I would like to note that our moderators also include the Kyrgyz who speak the language and have knowledge of the cultural norms of the country. Another method of moderation is based on user complaints: anyone can complain about content on TikTok, the relevant unit in our moderation department will review it and take appropriate action if necessary. We always encourage users to complain about content that may violate the rules,» Sergei Sokolov stressed.

Earlier it was reported that, taking into account the appeals and after the monitoring conducted, the Ministry of Culture decided to terminate the operation of TikTok service in the territory of the Kyrgyz Republic.

The decision was sent to the Ministry of Digital Development for further execution within the framework of the country’s legislation. The management of TikTok social media sent a letter to the Ministry of Culture, Information, Sports and Youth Policy in response to a request to block the platform in the Kyrgyz Republic.