TikTok suspends live-streaming and posting new content in Russia amid Ukraine invasion

TikTok is suspending live-streaming and posting new video content on its platform in response to Russia’s new “fake news” law, the company said on Sunday.

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

“Our in-app messaging service will not be affected,” it added.

The law, which was approved on Friday by the lower chamber of Russia’s parliament, threatens those who publish what authorities deem to be false information about the country’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine.

It says anyone found guilty of disseminating false information and data about the use of Russia’s armed forces would be punished with a prison sentence of up to 15 years or a fine of up to 1.5m rubles (£10,700).

Following the move, several news organisations working out of Russia such as CNN, BBC, and Bloomberg News, have begun to weigh their options, including suspending their operations in the country.

Some organisations are reportedly limiting the use of their reporters’ bylines, or adhering to Russia’s description of its actions in Ukraine as a “special military operation”, or a “peace-keeping mission”.

“TikTok is 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. However, the safety of our employees and our users remain our highest priority,” the company noted.

“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,” it added.

Netflix also said on Sunday that it has suspended its service in Russia, with a company spokesperson announcing that the streaming giant was severing all ties with Russia, cutting viewers in the country off from its services.

“Given the circumstances on the ground, we have decided to suspend our service in Russia,” the spokesperson said in a statement.

The new “fake news” law represents a move by the Kremlin to tighten the screws on anti-war protests, which saw over 3,500 people detained in the country on Sunday across 50 of its cities.

Since Russia invaded Ukraine on 24 February, protests have erupted in more than 100 Russian cities and at least 10,900 people have been detained, according to the OVD-Info project – an independent Russian human rights monitoring group.

Similar protests have taken place in many major capitals in recent days, including London, Lisbon, Paris and Rome.

Protesters have been widely using TikTok to document their voices and actions, including how economic sanctions against Russia are affecting people on the ground.

On Saturday, Russia’s interior ministry warned that any attempt to hold unauthorised protests would be prevented and the organisers held to account.

The Independent has a proud history of campaigning for the rights of the most vulnerable, and we first ran our Refugees Welcome campaign during the war in Syria in 2015. Now, as we renew our campaign and launch this petition in the wake of the unfolding Ukrainian crisis, we are calling on the government to go further and faster to ensure help is delivered.

To find out more about our Refugees Welcome campaign, click here. To sign the petition click here. If you would like to donate then please click here for our GoFundMe page

Source link