TikTok cracks down on hate posts in US

Pulls down a mass of hate content on its US site in a bid to appease Trump after his executive order to ban its parent company Bytedance

by AFP
TikTok cracks down on hate posts in US
TikTok says it has deleted a vast amount of short videos with hate content in them. File photo by AFP.

TikTok said on Thursday it has removed more than 380,000 short videos in the US this year as part of a mission to "eliminate hate" on the platform.

TikTok also banned some 1,300 accounts for breaking rules against hateful content or behaviour, and deleted 64,000 comments on similar grounds, according to the short-video-sharing sensation.

"These numbers don't reflect a 100% success rate in catching every piece of hateful content or behaviour, but they do indicate our commitment to action," TikTok's US head of safety Eric Han said in a blog post.

On July 31, President Trump ordered “sweeping but vague bans” on dealings with the Chinese owners of TikTok and messaging app WeChat, saying they were a threat to US national security, foreign policy and the economy.

The TikTok order is due to take effect in September, but it remains unclear what it will mean for the apps’ 100 million users in the US, many of them teenagers or young adults who use it to post and watch short-form videos.

The order would prohibit “any transaction by any person” with TikTok and its Chinese parent company Bytedance.

Misinformation

"Our goal is to eliminate hate on TikTok."

Han's overview of what TikTok is doing to combat hate comes as the app defends itself against what it calls "rumours and misinformation" about its links to the Chinese government.

"TikTok has never provided any US user data to the Chinese government, nor would it do so if asked," the company also said in a recent post.

"Any insinuation to the contrary is unfounded and blatantly false."

US user data is stored in this country, with a backup in Singapore, according to TikTok.

Read More: Bytedance ready to sell TikTok in US: report

Han on Thursday outlined rules and actions being taken to make it more difficult to find threatening, violent, or dehumanising content on TikTok.

TikTok has a zero-tolerance stance against accounts linked to white nationalism, male supremacy, anti-Semitism and "other hate-based ideologies," Han said.

As tensions soar between the world's two biggest economies, Trump has claimed TikTok could also be used by China to track the locations of federal employees, build dossiers on users for blackmail, and conduct corporate espionage.

China though has termed fears as baseless and slammed Washington for using "digital gunboat diplomacy" in the TikTok case.

Meanwhile, US technology firms Microsoft and Oracle are reported to be looking into the potential of buying TikTok.

"I think Oracle is a great company and I think it’s owner is a tremendous guy, a tremendous person," Trump said in a public address early this week.

Agence France-Presse