DUBAI: TikTok has announced a “refresh” of its community guidelines and introduced new “community principles,” the company said in a statement.
The community principles are aimed at helping users to better understand TikTok’s decisions about safety on the platform.
The principles are based on the platform’s “commitment to uphold human rights and aligned with international legal frameworks” and guide decisions about how the platform moderates content in a way that “strikes a balance between freedom of expression and preventing harm,” TikTok said.
Some of the key changes to the guidelines include enhancing rules for treating “synthetic media,” which TikTok described as content created or modified by artificial intelligence technology, and the addition of the term “tribe” as a protected attribute in its hate speech and hateful behavior policies.
Moving forward, TikTok will provide more detail about its work to protect civic and election integrity, including its approach to government, politician and political party accounts.
TikTok has also added a new section under its misinformation policy to address climate misinformation. While discussion about the topic will be allowed, the platform will prohibit any misinformation that “undermines well-established scientific consensus.”
The company consulted more than 100 organizations around the world, including the International Association for Suicide Prevention, the Safety Advisory Council and SMEX, as well as users, to inform the refreshed guidelines.
The new guidelines will come into effect on April 21 and the platform will provide additional training to its moderators to help enforce the updated rules and standards as they start to roll out.
Based on feedback, TikTok will now host all information about its rules and standards in one place where it will be organized thematically.
For each topic, the platform provides a brief explanation of what is not allowed with more information including definitions and the range of actions the platform might take if they are violated.
Additionally, TikTok is expanding its enforcement strategy by sharing more information about the actions that the platform takes against accounts that violate their rules; explaining the considerations for enforcement of rules based on public interest, and the platform’s approach to content that critiques public figures; and including more detail about how TikTok uses informational labels, warnings and opt-in screens.
“The world is changing,” said Julie de Bailliencourt, TikTok’s global head of product policy, during a press briefing. “Our community is changing. We see new trends coming and going, and we think we need to regularly update these guidelines to meet the expectation of people who come on our service.”
The updated community guidelines come amid growing concerns about TikTok with CEO Shou Zi Chew scheduled to appear before the US congress on March 23.
In a TikTok video posted on Tuesday, Chew said that the app now has more than 150 million active monthly US users. “That’s almost half the US coming to TikTok,” Chew said.
“Some politicians have started talking about banning TikTok. Now this could take TikTok away from all 150 million of you,” he said.
A growing number of US lawmakers support a ban on TikTok, and on March 1, the House Foreign Affairs Committee voted along party lines to give US President Joe Biden new powers to ban TikTok.