ByteDance, one of the better known Chinese internet giants, will launch a feature on two of its products, TikTok’s sister app Douyin and information platform Toutiao, with which the account IP location will be displayed on the user’s personal homepage. Toutiao and Douyin will test this function with Toutiao beginning on Friday, April 15th, while Douyin beginning at the end of the month.
The IP location of the account displayed on the platform will be the one showed on users’ latest post or comment. Further, the platform will show the province in China in which the user is located, or other countries and regions overseas. The IP location of the account is subject to the information provided by the operator. Users cannot disable the function.
The announcement made by the two companies has caused some complaints by a large number of netizens in China, claiming that this function will violate the privacy rights of end users since users cannot opt out of the function. However, Douyin and Toutiao said that this move is to maintain a transparent and orderly discussion on the platforms and aims to reduce misbehaviors such as pretending to be parties to trendy events, maliciously spreading rumors, and piggybacking on trending spots to gain more exposure.
In March this year, Chinese social media Weibo announced that it would test a similar function, which is still in the testing stages. Opting out by users is also banned.