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Photo: Chesnot/Getty Images

TikTok on Wednesday published a lengthy update to its rules of conduct, sharpening its definition of unacceptable content and its stance toward misinformation.

Why it matters: The move is an acknowledgment that TikTok's previous standards did not adequately address the onslaught of content-related issues that the video-sharing platform is starting to face as it grows.

What's new: TikTok's updated community standards are three times the length of the old guidelines. The platform has defined 10 issues that its content policies address, including:

  • Dangerous individuals and organizations
  • Illegal activities and regulated goods
  • Violent and graphic content
  • Suicide, self-harm and dangerous acts
  • Hate speech
  • Harassment and bullying
  • Adult nudity and sexual activities
  • Minor safety
  • Integrity and authenticity
  • Threats to platform security

Be smart: While TikTok's old guidelines addressed many of these areas, the new rules go into much greater detail.

  • For example, the company published a lengthy list of who it considers to be dangerous individuals and organizations that can't use its app, including groups affiliated with hate, extortion, organ trafficking, cybercrime and extremism. And in doing so, it defined what it considers to be a terrorist organization.
  • It also greatly expanded its policies around minor safety, an issue that TikTok has had to grapple with in the U.S., especially in terms of children's data privacy. The new policies say explicitly that users must meet minimum age requirements to use TikTok.
  • The new rules don't ban misinformation outright. But they do explicitly say that misinformation that's created to cause harm to users or the larger public is prohibited, including misinformation about elections or other civic processes.

The big picture: TikTok's unprecedented rise has rattled U.S. lawmakers, who fear that the Chinese-owned app's ambiguous standards around content, as well as data privacy, could pose security risks to the U.S.

  • The viral video-sharing app owned by Chinese tech giant ByteDance says it's making these changes to offer "insight into the philosophy behind our moderation decisions and the framework for making such judgements."

Our thought bubble: One lesson TikTok could learn from its social media rivals is that the stronger a policy is, the harder it can be to enforce. It's one thing for TikTok to create a policy requiring the removal of accounts of children younger than 13, but another thing entirely to make the ban stick against one of its most popular user age groups.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Ina Fried, author of Login
34 mins ago - Technology
Column / Signal Boost

Exclusive: Meta's civil rights chief aims to "turn the knob" for good

Photo Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios. Photo: Meta

A year ago, Facebook brought in Roy Austin, Jr. to lead a new team focused on civil rights. Since then, he has assembled a squad of experts advising parent company Meta on everything from voting rights to hate speech to ensuring new products don't have discriminatory impact.

The big picture: Austin's team of nine must tackle those tough issues inside a company of nearly 70,000 employees serving more than 3 billion users around the world.

Momentum builds for salary transparency

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

New York City will soon require employers to supply a salary range when they're advertising a position — the biggest step yet in the growing but controversial movement for pay transparency.

Why it matters: Laws like New York's aim to give workers, particularly women and people of color, more power in job negotiations. But the rise in remote work is throwing a wrench into the effort.

1 hour ago - Health

Contact tracing fizzles across America

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

States across the country are scaling back their contact tracing efforts, often focusing on vulnerable communities and relying more on Americans to alert close contacts themselves after testing positive for COVID.

Why it matters: As vaccines have become available, the virus has become more infectious and life has slowly headed more toward normal, health officials have come to view contact tracing as a relatively inefficient use of resources.