TikTok is showing Russian-made content, despite its own digital policies, found by Tracking Exposed, a European non-profit research group.

TikTok once again in headline for issues relating to its algorithm

Since March, Russian users have been banned from uploading new content on TikTok following Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine. Russian citizens are also prevented from seeing domestic or intentional TikTok videos, after the policy was updated on June 30 but a loophole in the Chinese-owned app is still promoting Russian content to Russian and European users.

We found six or seven [of these accounts], but there are probably more They are completely above these restrictions and we don’t understand why. TikTok might be trying to keep its platform attractive to Russian users by allowing domestic content to remain online. We know that Russian public opinion is relative in deciding to support the war in Ukraine or not, and we know there is strong censorship in Russia.

Salvatore Romano – Head of Research at Tracking

Researchers found new videos from Russian accounts including state media were visible on TikTok’s For You page, where the platform’s algorithm recommends new content to users. Some verified state-controlled accounts are still escaping the ban and sharing new content with Russian-based users.

The non-profit has previously accused TikTok of being opaque and inconsistent when enforcing its policies on content moderation concerning the Ukraine war. A report in March found that TikTok did not enforce its Russian content ban for three weeks, exposing users in the country to videos and images that were overwhelmingly pro-war and pro-Kremlin.

TikTok for a statement in response to the Tracking Exposed report

Our policies for our service in Russia have not changed, and we continue working to enforce them for the safety of our employees and community.

TikTok

The European Union has recently passed the Digital Services Act which requires social media platforms to be more transparent about the way content is handled and distributed.

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