TikTok announces updated community guidelines
In a bid to promote safety, security and well-being on its site, short-form mobile video platform, TikTok, has announced updates to its community guidelines to further support the well-being of users and the integrity of the platform.
The platform’s public policy and government relations director, Fortune Mgwili-Sibanda, said transparency is important to them and these updates would expand upon the types of behaviour and content the platform would remove or make ineligible for recommendation in the ‘For You’ feed.
He added that the firm routinely strengthens its safeguards so that they can continue to bring people together to create, connect, and enjoy community-powered entertainment long-term.
“The policies are designed to foster an experience that prioritises safety, inclusion, and authenticity. They consider emerging trends or threats observed across the internet and on the platform. TikTok also listens to feedback from its community as well as other experts in areas like digital safety and security, content moderation, health and well-being, and adolescent development”, he said.
According to Mgwili-Sibanda, some of the main updates that would be implemented over the next few weeks include, strengthening its dangerous acts and challenges policy to help prevent such content – including suicide hoaxes – from spreading on the platform; broadening the approach to eating disorders in which the platform will start to also remove the promotion of disordered eating.
TikTok said it is making this change in consultation with eating disorders experts, researchers, and physicians, as it understands that people can struggle with unhealthy eating patterns and behaviour without having an eating disorder diagnosis.
Others are adding clarity on the types of hateful ideologies prohibited on the platform, including deadnaming, misgendering, misogyny as well as content that supports or promotes conversion therapy programs; expanding policy to protect the security, integrity, availability, and reliability of the platform including prohibiting unauthorised access to the app as well as its content, accounts, systems or data and prohibiting the use of the app to perpetrate criminal activity.
“In addition to educating the community on ways to spot, avoid and report suspicious activity, TikTok is opening a state-of-the-art cyber incident monitoring and investigative response centers in Washington DC, Dublin, and Singapore this year and our Fusion Center operations enable follow-the-sun threat monitoring and intelligence gathering, as we continue working with industry-leading experts to test and enhance our defenses.
“Additionally, users can find more information about the content categories ineligible for recommendation into ‘For You’ feeds. While the ability to discover new ideas, creators, and interests is part of what makes the platform unique, content in someone’s ‘For You’ feed may come from a creator they haven’t chosen to follow or relate to an interest they haven’t previously engaged with. Every member of TikTok’s community will be prompted to read the updated guidelines when they open the app in the coming weeks”, the firm added.
He added that the guidelines apply to everyone and all content on the platform and uses a combination of technology and people to identify and remove violations of said guidelines.
To hold itself accountable to its community, NGOs, and others, TikTok releases community guidelines and enforcement reports quarterly. The most recent report published shows that over 91 million violative videos were removed during Q3 2021, which is around 1% of all videos uploaded. Of those videos, 95% were removed before a user reported it, 88% before the video received any views, and 93% within 24 hours of being posted. TikTok continues to expand its system that detects and removes certain categories of violations at upload – including adult nudity and sexual activities, minor safety and illegal activities and regulated goods.