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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

Twitter to label COVID-19 vaccine misinformation, implement strike policy

Photo: Illustration by Igor Golovniov/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Twitter announced Monday that it will label tweets with potentially misleading information about COVID-19 vaccines, and introduce a strike system that can lead to permanent account suspension.

The big picture: Tech companies are taking an increasingly aggressive stance against users who attempt to share misleading information about COVID-19 vaccines on their platforms.

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Health: Trump, Melania received COVID vaccine at White House in January — CDC director warns "now is not the time" to lift COVID restrictions.
  2. Vaccine: J&J CEO "absolutely" confident in vaccine distribution goals Most states aren't prioritizing prisons for COVID vaccines — Vaccine hesitancy is shrinking.
  3. Economy: Apple says all U.S. stores open for the first time since start of pandemic — What's really going on with the labor market.
  4. Sports: Poll weighs impact of athlete vaccination.
  5. World: Italy tightens restrictions as experts warn of growing prevalence of variants — PA announces new COVID restrictions as cases surge.
  6. Local: Colorado sets timeline for return to normalcy.
Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Trump received COVID vaccine at White House in January

Photo: Noam Galai/Getty Images

Former President Trump and former first lady Melania Trump were both vaccinated at the White House in January, a Trump adviser tells Axios.

Why it matters: Trump declared at CPAC on Sunday that "everybody" should get the coronavirus vaccine — the first time he's encouraged his supporters, who have been more skeptical of getting vaccinated, to do so.