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Temu Implements Search Censorship for American Users

Temu App. online marketplace

The platform has prohibited terms that are not specifically covered under its policies, leading to confusion and controversy.

Searches for certain political keywords now yield no results on the platform. Credit: Markus Mainka via Shutterstock.
Searches for certain political keywords now yield no results on the platform. Credit: Markus Mainka via Shutterstock.

Temu, the rapidly expanding Chinese retail platform making its mark in the US, has extended its censorship practices from the Chinese market to American shores, Forbes reported.

In a move aligning with directives from the Chinese government, Temu now restricts searches for politically sensitive topics in both China and the US.

Searches for keywords such as ‘Trump,’ ‘Biden,’ ‘election,’ and ‘president’ on Temu yield no results, despite the availability of related products on the platform.

While hundreds of Trump and Biden-themed items are listed, the platform intentionally omits search results for these terms, opting instead to display products linked to more neutral phrases, including ‘freedom’ or ‘USA.’

This approach starkly contrasts with major American retailers such as Amazon, Walmart, and Target, which openly display thousands of listings related to American political figures.

Forbes noted that Temu also filters out searches for topics such as ‘Israel,’ ‘Palestine,’ and ‘Hamas,’ yet curiously allows results for terms such as ‘Nazi’ and ‘Hitler.’

Critics have raised concerns over Temu’s decision to impose such stringent censorship measures in the US, especially given its significant user base growth, reaching an average of 20 million monthly users in the first quarter of 2024.

The platform’s policies, which prohibit products violating national laws, fail to specify any ban on political terms or items, leaving observers puzzled by its approach.

According to Forbes, industry analysts suggest that Temu may be navigating a delicate balance between appeasing Chinese authorities and maintaining a welcoming image in the American market.

While some view the censorship as a strategic move to avoid controversy, others argue it could have implications for freedom of speech and consumer choice.

This development comes amid increasing scrutiny of Chinese tech companies operating in the US, with lawmakers calling for investigations into Temu’s practices.

Similar concerns led to legislative action against TikTok, highlighting broader apprehensions about Chinese influence over online platforms.

Despite criticisms, Temu’s expansion continues unabated, with its parent company, PDD Holdings, reporting record profits in 2023.

With its small American headquarters and substantial workforce in China, Temu’s influence extends beyond its e-commerce platform, prompting questions about the balance between commercial success and adherence to democratic values.

Source from Retail Insight Network

Disclaimer: The information set forth above is provided by retail-insight-network.com independently of Alibaba.com. Alibaba.com makes no representation and warranties as to the quality and reliability of the seller and products.

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