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China orders TikTok owner to pull work app that bypassed censors

You could see content from banned sites like Facebook and Twitter.
Jon Fingas, @jonfingas
April 25, 2020
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FUZHOU, CHINA - MAY 05: People visit the ByteDance stand during the 2nd Digital China Summit & Exhibition at Fuzhou Strait International Conference & Exhibition Center on May 5, 2019 in Fuzhou, Fujian Province of China. The 2nd Digital China Summit with the theme of 'IT application: new growth drivers for new developments and achievements' will be held on May 6-8 in Fuzhou. (Photo by Visual China Group via Getty Images/Visual China Group via Getty Images)
VCG via Getty Images

TikTok owner ByteDance has been accused of censorship abroad, but it’s facing just the opposite claims in its home territory. China’s Cyberspace Administration has ordered ByteDance to temporarily pull its collaborative work app Feishu for roughly a month after learning that it allowed content from banned sites like Facebook and Twitter in its news feed. The company had pulled the feed in March after officials raised alarms, but that still wasn’t enough to avoid a shutdown.

The parallel app for countries beyond China, Lark, isn’t affected.

The incident could deal a blow to ByteDance, which has been expanding into the business world after focusing much of its attention on social media apps like TikTok. However, it’s also a reminder that ByteDance’s fate is ultimately tied to China’s policies no matter how open and successful its services are abroad.

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