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US gov’t censored TikTok content by leveraging threats to ban platform after accusing China, Russia of similar Big Tech tyranny: Glenn Greenwald

On Wednesday, independent journalist Glenn Greenwald published an article blasting the United States government for hypocritically pressuring TikTok to censor and shut down content that dissented from the establishment narrative after accusing China, Russia, and Iran of similar tyrannical offenses.

Greenwald’s article, “Reflecting New U.S. Control of TikTok’s Censorship, Our Report Criticizing Zelensky Was Deleted,” argued that U.S. officials and legacy media allies drastically changed their coverage of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy after Russia invaded.

According to the report, TikTok removed a video posted by Greenwald that discussed how the corporate media went from negatively covering Zelenskyy before the war to portraying him in a positive light after Russia invaded Ukraine.

“When we learned it was TikTok – rather than FB or Google – that censored our critical report on Zelensky, we were surprised since China has no interest in shielding Zelensky’s image,” Greenwald stated. “Once we learned the US Security State has commandeered this censorship power, it made sense.”

He noted that the video was not critical of Zelenskyy but discussed how the U.S. government and its media allies changed coverage.

On Twitter, Greenwald posted the video from his show, “System Update,” which was banned on TikTok.

“One of the most remarkable features of the Ukraine war is how the media rewrote years of history, almost overnight, to support U.S. intervention in Ukraine,” the post stated. “Before Russia invaded, Zelensky was not exactly the poster child for virtuous democratic leadership.”

u201cIronically, our report wasn’t even critical of Zelensky per se. Instead, it showed how the Western media completely reversed its own reporting on Ukraine and Zelensky the minute Russia invaded.nnWatch the exact segment that TikTok (ie, the USG) banned:nn

— Glenn Greenwald (@Glenn Greenwald)

“For years, U.S. officials and their media allies accused Russia, China, and Iran of tyranny for demanding censorship as a condition for Big Tech access,” Greenwald wrote. “Now, the U.S. is doing the same to TikTok.”

He noted that China is often accused of forcing Big Tech to bend to its censorship demands. For instance, in 2018, leaked Google documents revealed that the company was prepared to create a censored version of its search engine to comply with the Chinese Communist Party’s requests. Additionally, in 2016, Facebook set out to enter the Chinese market by creating software to suppress certain posts. Facebook has also previously complied with demands from Pakistan, Russia, and Turkey to restrict content.

According to Greenwald’s report, the United States government has participated in similar tyrannical censorship practices with TikTok.

“The U.S. national security state has leveraged threats to ban TikTok from the U.S. entirely into concessions that they, rather than TikTok’s Chinese owners, will now make ‘content moderation’ decisions for the platform, thus leaving TikTok now in the same bucket along with Google, Meta, and Apple as massive companies subject to the censorship directives of the U.S. government,” stated Greenwald.