TikTok updates its community guidelines

tiktok
TIKTOK

Today TikTok has announced updates to its Community Guidelines to further support the well-being of its community and the integrity of the platform.

In a press statement, the company said it values transparency and the new updates clarify or expand upon the types of behaviour and content TikTok will remove from the platform or make ineligible for recommendation in the For You feed.

TikTok routinely strengthens its safeguards so that TikTok can continue to bring people together to create, connect, and enjoy community-powered entertainment long-term.

Building a safe and secure entertainment platform

TikTok believes that people should be able to express themselves creatively and be entertained in a safe, secure, and welcoming environment. The Community Guidelines support that by establishing a set of norms so that people understand what kinds of content to create on the platform and viewers know what to report.

The policies are designed to foster an experience that prioritises safety, inclusion, and authenticity. They take into account 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.

Some of the main updates being announced today and implemented over the next few weeks include:

  • Strengthening its dangerous acts and challenges policy. TikTok continues to enact the stricter approach it previously announced to help prevent such content – including suicide hoaxes – from spreading on the platform. This previously sat within TikTok’s suicide and self-harm policies, but will now be highlighted in a separate policy category with more detail so it’s even easier for the community to familiarise themselves with these guidelines.
  • Broadening the approach to eating disorders. While TikTok already removes content that promotes eating disorders, the platform will start to also remove the promotion of disordered eating. TikTok 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. The aim is to acknowledge more symptoms, such as overexercise or short-term fasting, that are frequently under-recognised signs of a potential problem. This is an incredibly nuanced area that’s difficult to consistently get right, and so TikTok is working to train its teams to remain alert to a broader scope of content.
  • Adding clarity on the types of hateful ideologies prohibited on the platform. This includes deadnaming, misgendering, or misogyny as well as content that supports or promotes conversion therapy programs. Though these ideologies have long been prohibited on TikTok, the platform has heard from creators and civil society organisations that it’s important to be explicit in our Community Guidelines.
  • Expanding the policy to protect the security, integrity, availability, and reliability of our platform. This includes prohibiting unauthorised access to TikTok, as well as TikTok content, accounts, systems, or data, and prohibiting the use of TikTok to perpetrate criminal activity. In addition to educating the community on ways to spot, avoid, and report suspicious activity, TikTok is opening state-of-the-art cyber incident monitoring and investigative response centers in Washington DC, Dublin, and Singapore this year. TikTok’s 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, the TikTok community 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.

That’s why when TikTok comes across content that may not be appropriate for a general audience, which includes everyone from teens to great-great-grandparents, the platform does its best to remove it from its recommendation system.

Every member of TikTok’s community will be prompted to read the updated guidelines when they open the app in the coming weeks.

Staying accountable to our community

The strength of a policy lies in its enforceability. TikTok’s Community Guidelines apply to everyone and all content on TikTok, and the platform strives to be consistent and equitable in its enforcement. TikTok uses a combination of technology and people to identify and remove violations of its Community Guidelines, and will continue training its automated systems and safety teams to uphold the policies.

To hold itself accountable to its community, NGOs, and others, TikTok releases Community Guidelines Enforcement Reports quarterly. The most recent report, published today, 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.

As a result, the volume of automated removals has increased, which improves the overall safety of the platform and enables the TikTok team to focus more time on reviewing contextual or nuanced content, such as hate speech, bullying and harassment, and misinformation.

TikTok has made significant strides to improve its policies and enforcement, including its efficacy, speed, and consistency, though the platform recognises there’s no finish line when it comes to keeping people safe. TikTok is driven by its passion to help everyone have a good and enriching experience on the platform.

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