Science, Technology, and Social Media

TikTok Continues Censorship Of Think Tank’s Account Promoting Anti-CCP Documentary

TikTok continued to target a think tank criticizing the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Thursday after removing and then reinstating posts without any explanation.

Acton Institute, an independent think tank that advocates for individual and religious liberty, was informed Tuesday that their account had been suspended but was given no reason for the decision. After Acton filed a complaint, TikTok reinstated the account but removed two videos promoting a documentary criticizing the CCP until they were also reinstated Thursday.

Acton’s Communications Director Eric Kohn told the Daily Caller News Foundation that at no point did the social media platform give Acton any “information on how or why these videos violate TikTok’s ‘community guidelines,’” and said that the constant back and forth “just further demonstrates TikTok’s capriciousness.”

Acton first noticed an issue when TikTok removed a video promoting a new documentary called “The Hong Konger: Jimmy Lai’s Extraordinary Struggle For Freedom” that the think tank released on April 18 about Jimmy Lai, who was imprisoned in April for protesting the Chinese government, claiming the post had “violent and graphic content.” The video showed Hong Kong police tear gassing and beating protesters during an anti-CCP rally.

Not long afterwards, Acton’s account was suspended entirely with no explanation before being reinstated the following day. TikTok did not offer a reason for their decision to suspend the account to Acton but told The Wall Street Journal Editorial Board that “[t]he account was removed in error and is available again on platform.”

Hours later, however, the platform removed two other videos for “violating community guidelines” before reinstating them on Thursday after Acton requested an explanation. Kohn told the DCNF that despite the social media platform refusing to explain their actions, Acton was not surprised by the response.

“TikTok’s CEO Shou Zi Chew testified before Congress in March saying ‘I want to be unequivocal on this. We do not remove or promote content on behalf of the Chinese government,’” Kohn told the DCNF. “But we know that they do. And we know why they came for the Acton Institute and ‘The Hong Konger’: they don’t want the world to know the truth about their subjugation of the people of Hong Kong, and their persecution of Jimmy Lai and others for their advocacy for freedom, democracy, and human rights. ‘The Hong Konger’ is the film that China and TikTok don’t want you to see. Which is exactly why you need to see it.”

TikTok did not immediately respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.

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