TikTok removed more than 380,000 US videos this year for hate speech

TikTok, like different social networks, has to grapple with hateful content material on its app.

Angela Lang/CNET

TikTok, recognized for brief movies of individuals lip-syncing and dancing to their favourite songs, is grappling with an issue acquainted to different social networks: hate speech.

On Thursday, TikTok mentioned it eliminated greater than 380,000 movies within the US this 12 months for violating its guidelines in opposition to hate speech. The corporate additionally banned greater than 1,300 accounts for hateful content material or conduct, and took down greater than 64,000 hateful feedback.

TikTok defines hate speech as “content material that intends to or does assault, threaten, incite violence in opposition to, or dehumanize a person or group of people on the premise of protected attributes like race, faith, gender, gender identification, nationwide origin, and extra.”

The short-form video app, which is utilized by 100 million People, is full of content material that promotes white supremacist teams and antisemitism, in accordance with a report launched in August by the Anti-Defamation League. Civil rights activists have urged social networks, together with Fb, to do extra to tug down hateful content material on their websites.

TikTok has different issues to fret about exterior of hate speech. It has been focused by the Trump administration as a result of the video app is owned by Chinese language tech firm ByteDance. The president has signed two government orders that impression TikTok’s future. One order would bar any US transactions with ByteDance and its subsidiaries, which signifies that TikTok would successfully be banned on this nation if it isn’t bought to a different firm by Sept. 20. One other government order, signed final week, ordered ByteDance to promote TikTok’s US operations inside 90 days. Each orders cite nationwide safety considerations about TikTok. The corporate has mentioned that it would not flip over US person knowledge to the Chinese language authorities even when it have been requested to take action.

Microsoft, Oracle and Twitter have been in talks with ByteDance about buying TikTok’s US operations. However buying a social media firm additionally means they must take care of content material moderation points. In an interview with Wired, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates has described a possible take care of TikTok as a “poisoned chalice,” including that “being massive within the social media enterprise isn’t any easy sport.”

Eric Han, who oversees security at TikTok within the US, mentioned in a weblog submit that the corporate needs to enhance its hate speech insurance policies and the way it tackles this downside. He outlined 5 methods TikTok is making an attempt to handle hate speech. The corporate consults with consultants to make any adjustments to its hate speech insurance policies and takes motion in opposition to the sort of content material by banning accounts or not together with offensive content material in search outcomes. When customers seek for “heil Hitler” on the app, for instance, the corporate would not present these outcomes or redirects them to its guidelines in opposition to hate speech. The corporate additionally trains content material moderators to grasp totally different cultures. Some teams have reclaimed ethnic slurs to battle again in opposition to individuals who attempt to oppress them with derogatory phrases. TikTok mentioned it is making an attempt to extend transparency about content material moderation and put money into tackling hate speech.

“We acknowledge the maybe insurmountable problem to fully eradicate hate on TikTok — however that will not cease us from making an attempt,” Han mentioned. 

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Queenie Wong