Feb 8, 2022 - Technology

TikTok updates rules to combat viral hoaxes

Photo Illustration by Avishek Das/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

TikTok on Tuesday said it's updating its policies to prevent harmful hoaxes from spreading on its platform.

Why it matters: Viral TikTok challenges last year led to school shooting threats and students vandalizing schools.

Details: In an update to its community guidelines posted Tuesday, the tech giant said it will be strengthening its "dangerous acts and challenges" policy to prohibit content that promotes harmful hoaxes.

  • TikTok will also be highlighting a separate policy category within its rules to creators to provide more details about which type of hoaxes violate its rules.
  • In addition, TikTok said it would be adding more clarity on the types of hateful ideologies and practices prohibited on its platform, including deadnaming, misgendering and misogyny, as well as content that promotes conversion therapy programs.

The big picture: TikTok says it works with experts and law enforcement to evaluate dangerous content on its platform and stop it from spreading. But users have proven adept at dodging some of TikTok's guardrails — and, given its scale, it can't always catch violating posts before they go viral.

  • On Tuesday, the company said it removed 91 million videos in the third quarter of 2021, most of which (85%) were removed before a video received any views.

Worth noting: TikTok Head of U.S. Safety Eric Han told Axios at an event Tuesday the new rules aim to "support the well-being of our community" beyond cracking down on hoaxes.

  • Watch the full event here.

Editor's note: This post was updated to include comment by TikTok Head of U.S. Safety Eric Han.

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