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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

14 hours ago - Health

FDA advisory panel recommends Pfizer boosters for those 65 and older

A healthcare worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine at the Key Biscayne Community Center on Aug. 24, 2021. Photo: Eva Marie Uzcategui/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A key Food and Drug Administration advisory panel on Friday overwhelmingly voted against recommending Pfizer vaccine booster shots for younger Americans, but unanimously recommended approving the third shots for individuals 65 and older, as well as those at high-risk of severe COVID-19.

Why it matters: While the votes are non-binding, and the FDA must still make a final decision, Friday's move pours cold water on the Biden administration's plan to begin administering boosters to most individuals who received the Pfizer vaccine later this month.

14 hours ago - World

France recalls ambassadors from U.S. and Australia over submarine deal

Secretary of State Antony Blinken (L), French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian (C), and French ambassador to the U.S. Philippe Etienne. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images

France has taken the extraordinary step of recalling its ambassadors to the U.S. and Australia after both countries blindsided their French allies with a new military pact and submarine contract, the French Foreign Ministry announced on Friday.

The backstory: While sealing an agreement with the U.S. and U.K. to acquire nuclear submarines, Australia ripped up an existing $90 billion submarine deal with France. That led senior French officials to accuse the U.S. of a "stab in the back."

Updated 15 hours ago - World

In reversal, Pentagon now says drone strike killed 10 Afghan civilians

Caskets for the dead are carried towards the gravesite as relatives and friends attend a mass funeral for members of a family that is said to have been killed in a U.S. drone airstrike, in Kabul on Aug. 30. Photo: Marcus Yam/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

A U.S. drone strike launched on Aug. 29 killed 10 civilians in Afghanistan, including seven children, rather than the Islamic State extremists the Biden administration claimed it targeted, the Pentagon said Friday.

Why it matters: U.S. Central Command said at the time that officials "know" the drone strike "disrupted an imminent ISIS-K threat" to Kabul's airport, and that they were "confident we successfully hit the target."