TikTok Rolls Out Major Ban On “Misleading Information”

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TikTok bans misleading information on its app
bans “misleading information” on its app

TikTok, a video-sharing social networking site has rolled out a major ban on contents shared on its platform over what it refers to as “misleading information”. This development is arising as a result of several complaints that the platform is used in sharing false information.

“We remove misinformation that could cause harm to an individual’s health or wider public safety. We also remove content distributed by disinformation campaigns,” TikTok, owned by Chinese tech company ByteDance, wrote in new guidelines which expand and add detail to its earlier rules.

TikTok, as a relative newcomer to the landscape, has yet to wrestle publicly with the persistent content moderation scandals that have dogged larger and more entrenched competitors.

However, the company has grown rapidly over the last year and come under scrutiny from US lawmakers concerned that it may be censoring politically sensitive content, following reports it blocked videos on protests in .

US officials have also raised national security concerns about TikTok’s handling of user data, prompting reviews by the US Army and the Committee on Foreign Investment in the . TikTok says it stores US user data outside .

According to data from research firm Sensor Tower, TikTok and its Chinese counterpart Douyin have been downloaded more than 1.5 billion times, including 680 million downloads in 2019.

TikTok’s previous rules around “misleading content” appeared to focus mostly on scams, barring users from creating fake identities or posting false information to make money, but did not mention misinformation or disinformation campaigns.

By contrast, the new rules explicitly ban “misinformation meant to incite fear, hate, or prejudice,” “misleading information about medical treatments,” and “content that misleads community members about elections or other civic processes.”

The guidelines did not explain how TikTok would determine what constitutes “misleading” content and appeared to leave leeway for interpretation in enforcement decisions.

A spokesman said the new policy would likely prompt the removal of content featuring conspiracy theories like Pizzagate, a fictitious story involving child exploitation and a supposedly Clinton-linked Washington pizzeria which went viral on social media in 2016 and prompted a man to fire an assault rifle at the pizzeria.

The spokesman said TikTok would also consider a heavily edited video that attempted to make US House of Representatives Speaker seem incoherent to be misinformation. and Twitter weathered intense criticism from Democrats over the video this year after declining to take it down.

On Monday, Facebook announced a new policy banning deepfakes and other manipulated media, but said the change would not result in the removal of the doctored Pelosi video.

Samuel Nelson
OduNews on Google News

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