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TikTok Suspends Service in Russia

Citing a new law passed in Russia to limit what the government refers to as ‘false’ news about the invasion of Ukraine, Chinese-owend video and messaging app TikTok has announced it will suspend “livestreaming and new content” to its app while the company assesses its legal and safety implications.

The company said “the safety of our employees and our users remain our highest priority.” In-app messages will continue to work.

The news follows announcements from a variety of Western news organizations– including CNN, the BBC and Bloomberg News, which all decided to suspend the work of their journalists in Russia after passage of the new law and a harsh crackdown on independent media.

TikTok has been slower than other major social media platforms to adopt policies on how how to deal with complicated issues such as misinformation and state media, attempting to portray itself as ‘apolitical.’ But as Reuters noted, after the launch of the Russian invasion, the site was flooded with video and images from Ukraine.

“Videos of people huddling and crying in windowless bomb shelters, explosions blasting through urban settings and missiles streaking across Ukrainian cities took over the app from its usual offerings of fashion, fitness and dance videos.

TikTok announced a new policy on state media and misinformation on Friday. The app has become a notable source of mis- and disinformation related to the conflict.

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