Chinese-owned video social media app TikTok is reportedly banning “misleading information” from its platform. According to the app hugely popular with young people, “We remove misinformation that could cause harm to an individual’s health or wider public safety. We also remove content distributed by disinformation campaigns.”
Reuters reports that the Chinese-owned video social media app TikTok has issued a ban across its platform on “misleading information” that could cause harm to its community or the public. In a set of new guidelines expanding on its earlier rules, TikTok which is owned by the Chinese firm ByteDance, wrote: “We remove misinformation that could cause harm to an individual’s health or wider public safety. We also remove content distributed by disinformation campaigns.”
TikTok’s previous rules relating to “misleading content” focused on scams and blocked users from posting false information to make money, but did not specifically ban misinformation campaigns. Now, the new rules explicitly ban: “misinformation meant to incite fear, hate, or prejudice,” “misleading information about medical treatments,” and “content that misleads community members about elections or other civic processes.”
The guidelines, however, do not state how TikTok determines what counts as “misleading” content, leaving that interpretation up to the company’s judgment, worrying some that the new rules could be used to ban users posting content that the Chinese-owned company does not like.
Accusations of political censorship have been brought against TikTok in recent months, BBC News reported in November of 2019 that a U.S. teenagers video raising awareness of the alleged Uighur Muslim concentration camps in China resulted in the teen being blocked from posting further content. The teen named Feroza Aziz alleged that not long after her video went viral, she was blocked from uploading to TikTok, but the company has denied these claims.
“TikTok does not moderate content due to political sensitivities,” a spokesman told BBC News. “Her new account and its videos, including the eyelash video in question, were not affected and continue to receive views,” the spokesman added.
TikTok has also faced security issues in recent months, it was reported recently that the app contained “serious vulnerabilities” which put users personal information at the risk of being hacked according to research published by the Israeli cybersecurity company Check Point.