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TikTok suspends new content, livestreaming on platform in Russia

TikTok has suspended new content and livestreaming abilities on its platform in Russia because of the country’s new “fake news” law, the app announced Sunday.

In a statement, TikTok said the safety of its employees and users is its highest priority.

TikTok said that “in light of Russia’s new ‘fake news’ law, we have no choice but to suspend livestreaming and new content to our video service in Russia while we review the safety implications of this law.”

“Our in-app messaging service will not be affected,” it said. “We will continue to evaluate the evolving circumstances in Russia to determine when we might fully resume our services with safety as our top priority.”

Feb. 28, 202202:59

TikTok said it wants to be an outlet for “creativity and entertainment that can provide a source of relief and human connection during a time of war when people are facing immense tragedy and isolation.”

The platform is not the first media outlet to suspend its services in Russia after the invasion of Ukraine.

After the Russian Parliament passed the “fake news” law, which makes it an offense to disseminate what it described as “fake” information about the country’s armed forces, the BBC announced that it would suspend reporting work in Russia.

Russia also blocked Facebook, according to the country’s media regulator, Roskomnadzor.

Police officers block access to Red Square in central Moscow on March 2, 2022.
Police officers block access to Red Square in central Moscow on March 2, 2022.Kirill Kudryavtsev / AFP – Getty Images

Roskomnadzor said it cut off access because of Facebook’s decision last week to block Russian media outlets, such as RT and Sputnik, for people in the European Union.

“On March 4, 2022, it was decided to block access to the Facebook network (owned by Meta Platforms, Inc.) in the Russian Federation,” the regulator said.

It cited “26 cases of discrimination against Russian media and information resources,” which it said are prohibited by Russian laws on the dissemination of information.

It was not immediately clear whether other entities owned by Facebook’s parent company, Meta, like WhatsApp and Instagram, would also be suspended.

Feb. 28, 202202:48

Nick Clegg, Meta’s president for global affairs, criticized the decision and said the company would fight back.

“Soon millions of ordinary Russians will find themselves cut off from reliable information, deprived of their everyday ways of connecting with family and friends and silenced from speaking out,” Clegg said in a statement.

“We will continue to do everything we can to restore our services so they remain available to people to safely and securely express themselves and organize for action,” he said. He did not say how the company might restore services.

David Ingram contributed.