Wed. Feb 19th, 2020

TikTok’s Latest Advanced Censorship Row Focuses On ‘Shadow Banning’ In India.

TikTok star in India with close to one million followers, who has become famous for posting short clips about Hindu-Muslim unity. He is now alleging that – at a time of growing disunity between Hindus and Muslims in India – his posts are being deemed “risky” by TikTok and adds that he has lost 25,000 followers since October.

The BBC has a lengthy piece about the growth of “shadow banning” – where restrictions are placed on how many of a user’s followers actually see their content – in India. It includes a case study of 22-year-old Ajay Barman, a

TikTok has responded by saying that it only restricts political content when it breaks community guidelines. There are other examples cited – such as posts around President Trump, criticisms of China and LGBTQ+ rights in Turkey – making the case that there is censorship by stealth on the platform. While this does not appear to be affecting music yet, the wider issues bearing down on TikTok and how it does or doesn’t police content on the app is something to be keenly aware of.

TikTok isn’t just about musical videos, and some of its non-music content has already sparked controversies around moderation and censorship issues. India, which is TikTok’s biggest international market right now, is a particular hotbed of sensitivities when it comes to political statements.

Barman also claims part of the shadow banning is that his clips no longer feature on the For You tab on the app (which is where TikTok can really make clips go viral) and that his average video views have slumped from 20,000 to 8,000.

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