Why is Chinese app TikTok inaccessible in China?

Why is Chinese app TikTok inaccessible in China?

Chinese short video app TikTok is facing a tough time globally. While it has been banned by countries like United Kingdom, Canada, France, Belgium, India and others, it is fighting to prevent itself to be banned by the United States. The Senate has already voted to ban TikTok from all government devices.

TikTok’s chief executive officer (CEO) Shou Chew was questioned by US lawmakers on Thursday. Washington DC has already told ByteDance, the parent company of TikTok, to sell shares or risk being banned in the country. But do you know this popular app is inaccessible in China itself? In fact, you would be surprised to know that TikTok never existed in China. There is a different version of the app called Douyin.

ALSO READ: France bans ‘recreational’ use of TikTok, Twitter, Instagram on official phones

Both TikTok and Douyin have been developed by ByteDance, but the former was launched in 2016 and became a viral sensation, CNN reported. Here’s how both the apps are similar, but different in nature.

1. Douyin comes with automatic beauty filter which can smooth out skin and change the shape of a person’s face. But there is no such feature in TikTok. Here’ the users can select beauty filters while filming.

2. Douyin is known as a platform for livestreamers, and this feature differentiates it from TikTok. In mainland China, livestreaming sales of products happens to be a multi-billion dollar industry.

3. China is known for its stringent censorship regime, with popular apps like Douyin falling in line. The search term ‘Tiananmen 1989’ on Douyin did not yield any search result, CNN reported. But the same term searched on TikTok will lead to videos of users talking about the People’s Liberation Army’s brutal crackdown on pro-democracy protesters in Beijing that year.

4. Douyin also has a strict policy for young users. The children under the age of 14 can access only child-safe content and use the app for just 40 minutes a day. They are not allowed to use the app from 10 pm to 6 am. On the other hand, TikTok announced that users under 18 will have their accounts default to one-hour daily screen time limit. But the teenage users will be able to turn off this setting.

The TikTok logo is seen on a cell phone, in Boston. Canada is banning TikTok from all government-issued mobile devices and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said it might be a first step to further action. (AP/FILE)

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