The transparency report released by TikTok indicates India to have approached them with most legal and content removal requests in the first half of 2019.
TikTok has released a Transparency Report, detailing the number of requests they have received from various countries across the world. The platform is occasionally presented with requests from various official bodies, such as government agencies or law enforcement officials, asking for certain actions to be taken.
These include requests to take down content deemed to be in violation of local laws or to provide information related to accounts under certain defined circumstances, such as to assist in a criminal investigation or emergency request. Other than these, there are take-down requests from copyright owners looking to protect their intellectual property.
The platform says that they take any request from government bodies very seriously, reviewing it closely. A balance has to be maintained between assisting law enforcement agencies and the privacy of the users.
Legal requests for user information
While assessing legal requests, TikTok reviews for legal sufficiency, checking whether the requesting entity is authorised to gather evidence. In the first half of 2019, the platform received the highest number of legal requests from India (99) followed by the US (68). With 28 requests, Japan stood third among the countries that had put forth such requests.
Government requests for content removal
On certain occasions, in addition to legal information requests, the platform is asked by government bodies to remove content that they deem to be a violation of local laws.
Such requests are reviewed by the team and the content in question is then evaluated in accordance with the platform’s Community Guidelines and local laws. In the first half of 2019, India had asked the platform to remove or restrict content 11 times, followed by the US (6) and Japan (3).
Copyrighted content take-down notices
TikTok’s Community Guidelines prohibit content that infringes third party intellectual property. The platform claims to have a robust copyright protection policy. If found to be in violation, the account is either suspended or removed from the platform. Between January and June 2019, TikTok received 3345 such requests. In 85% of these cases, the content was removed by the platform.