To counter hate speech on its platform, embattled social media app, TikTok, on Thursday announced that since the start of this year, it had taken down more than 380,000 videos in the US for violating its community guidelines. The company also banned more than 1,300 accounts for hateful content or behavior, and removed over 64,000 comments for breaking its hate speech policy. “To be clear, these numbers don’t reflect a 100% success rate in catching every piece of hateful content or behavior, but they do indicate our commitment to action”, the company said.
TikTok also said it is using new algorithms to make it more difficult to to find hateful content on the platform. According to the company: “We take various approaches to stop the spread of hate, including removing related content, refraining from showing results, or redirecting the search to our Community Guidelines to educate our community about our policies against hateful expression. It’s not a fail-safe solution, but we work to quickly apply this approach to hate groups as they emerge”. The changes will lead to ‘more positive and joyful content’ for all TikTok users, the company said.
The changes come at a time when the app and its Chinese owner, ByteDance, are facing severe challenges in its two largest markets – India and the US. While the former has already banned the app as part of a larger crackdown on Chinese apps and services, the US president has threatened similar action if ByteDance doesn’t sell-off the US operations of the app to a US-based owner. To add to its problems, the app now stands accused of snooping on millions of Android users by surreptitiously collecting their MAC addresses.