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TikTok refreshes Community Guidelines as BBC employees told not to use app on work devices

By | Published on Tuesday 21 March 2023


TikTok has announced a refresh of its Community Guidelines, which are the rules that govern how the video-sharing app deals with harmful content, ie videos that might be offensive, unlawful or abusive, or which may contain misinformation.

The company has also shared what it’s calling its Community Principles which, it says, will “help people understand our decisions about how we work to keep TikTok safe and build trust in our approach”. These principles, it adds, “are based on our commitment to uphold human rights and are aligned with international legal frameworks”.

TikTok consulted more than 100 organisations around the world as part of the refresh. Among the changes are enhanced rules regarding content created or modified by AI technologies; the addition of ‘tribe’ as a protected attribute in the company’s hate speech and hateful behaviour policies; and greater detail about how TikTok seeks to protect “civic and election integrity”.

User-upload platforms have come under increased pressure in recent years, from both law-makers and advertisers, to better tackle the harmful content that is routinely uploaded to their platforms. There have also been calls for more transparency regarding each platform’s moderation and content removal systems, including from creators who often complain that their content is sometimes blocked or demonetised without good reason.

“We’re proud to be sharing these refreshed Community Guidelines offering our community much more transparency about our rules and how we enforce them”, TikTok says. “It takes a whole village to keep people safe online, so we’re grateful to everyone in the TikTok community and to all of the external experts who have contributed and continue to help us advance our rules and stay a step ahead of emerging threats”.

“We believe that everyone deserves to feel safe online and that feeling safe is key to unlocking imagination and creative expression”, it adds. “That’s why we continue to invest in our work to keep TikTok a safe, inclusive and authentic home for our global community, so that they can create, discover and connect”.

TikTok’s latest bid to prove it is definitely a responsible digital platform comes as the political pressure continues to mount over concerns the Chinese government has access to the app’s user-data via its China-based owner Bytedance.

After a flurry of governments told their employees to not use TikTok on official devices, now media organisations are following suit. The BBC yesterday told its staff to not use the app on their work devices after Denmark’s public service broadcaster made a similar request of its employees earlier this month.

However, the BBC will continue to use TikTok for editorial and marketing purposes despite the ban on employees using the app. For it’s part, TikTok continues to deny there are any issues with data security on its platform.