Ex-Chinese Government Official Was In Charge Of TikTok’s Content Moderation Policies, Report Says


A former Chinese government official was in charge of making decisions on what content should be allowed on TikTok, the Financial Times reported in a development that raises questions about the company’s previous claim that the Chinese government had no influence over its operations.

Key Facts

Cai Zheng, who worked at the Chinese Embassy in Tehran from 2013 to 2018, ran the global content policy team at TikTok’s Beijing-based parent ByteDance until earlier this year when the company moved to allow local operations in its biggest countries to make content removal decisions themselves.

According to a now-altered LinkedIn profile, Cai joined ByteDance in 2018, when the company was under scrutiny from the Chinese government over content shared on the company’s news aggregator app Jinri Toutiao.

Cai worked with

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Former Chinese government official ran TikTok’s content policy as app went global

A former Chinese government official in his late twenties was in charge of deciding what content should be allowed on TikTok as the short-video app became a smash hit around the world, according to two people close to the company.

Cai Zheng, who worked in China’s embassy in Tehran for four years according to a now deleted LinkedIn profile, ran ByteDance’s global content policy team in Beijing until early this year, when the company accelerated a move to let its biggest markets make their own decisions about what videos should be removed. 

The revelation that Mr Cai was at the heart of TikTok’s policymaking team raises questions about repeated denials from ByteDance, the app’s Beijing-based owner, that the Chinese government has any influence over TikTok’s operations. 

TikTok has been painted as a security threat to the US by Donald Trump and the app is trying to restructure its ownership and

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Philippines accuses Facebook of censoring pro-government content

a close up of a logo: FILE PHOTO: A Facebook logo is displayed on a smartphone in this illustration

© Reuters/Dado Ruvic
FILE PHOTO: A Facebook logo is displayed on a smartphone in this illustration

MANILA (Reuters) – The Philippines accused Facebook on Tuesday of censoring pro-government content which it said was tantamount to curtailing freedom of speech and called for new measures to regulate the social media giant to “level the playing field”.

In the Southeast Asian country, President Rodrigo Duterte has been bolstered by establishing a powerful support base on social media platforms like Facebook, a factor that was instrumental in his election victory in 2016.

But Facebook last week dismantled a network of accounts that originated from China and the Philippines for engaging in “coordinated inauthentic behaviour”, including one that Manila says it supports for its anti-communism stance.

The takedown drew the ire of Duterte who warned Facebook on Monday night that it should explain what its purpose is in his country if it wants to

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As Facebook prepares to outsource tough content decisions to its new ‘Supreme Court,’ experts warn it still operates within a dictatorship and can’t legislate a better government

Kevin Martin, Mark Zuckerberg are posing for a picture: There's a growing appetite in Congress for increased regulation of internet platforms like Facebook. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

© Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
There’s a growing appetite in Congress for increased regulation of internet platforms like Facebook. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

  • Facebook is launching its “oversight board” in October, a pseudo-independent group that can review — and overrule — the company’s decisions on difficult content moderation cases.
  • The Oversight Board has been described as a “Supreme Court” tasked with interpreting Facebook’s complex content policies.
  • Julie Owono, an inaugural board member, told Business Insider she hopes the board can help resolve “significant questions” about Facebook’s policies and help it focus on areas of the world it has neglected.
  • But internet law and tech policy experts worry that the board, though well-designed, allows Facebook to outsource criticism in controversial cases while letting it keep the power to make its own rules.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

More than two years after Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg first floated the idea of

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