TikTok updates Community Guidelines around dangerous acts and eating disorders

TikTok has announced an update to its Community Guidelines which sees the platform strengthen its rules around online challenges, promoting eating disorders and hateful ideologies.

The video-sharing site’s head of trust and safety, Cormac Keenan, said it was updating its rules to help improve transparency for users as well as clarity for moderators on what content they should ensure is removed.

As part of the update, TikTok said its rules will now more clearly note the risk of certain dangerous acts and challenges, such as suicide hoax content, and will see new videos from notable creators on the platform urging others to “stop, think, decide and act” when assessing videos they see.

The firm said its rules around eating disorder content have also been strengthened and will now prohibit the promotion of disordered eating and certain “under-recognised signs” and symptoms of a potential problem.

“This is an incredibly nuanced area that’s difficult to consistently get right, and we’re working to train our teams to remain alert to a broader scope of content,” the firm said.

A further change will see the site be more explicit on the hateful ideologies banned from the platform, including misgendering or misogyny.

TikTok said that though these ideologies had “long been prohibited” on the site, the company said it had “heard from creators and civil society organisations that it’s important to be explicit in our Community Guidelines”.

“Transparency with our community is important to us, and these updates clarify or expand upon the types of behaviour and content we will remove from our platform or make ineligible for recommendation in the For You feed,” Mr Keenan said.

“We routinely strengthen our safeguards so that TikTok can continue to bring people together to create, connect, and enjoy community-powered entertainment long-term.”

TikTok has been one of the most active social media platforms in terms of policy updates and new safety feature additions in recent years as scrutiny on the sector has increased and policymakers move closer to regulating the platforms for the first time.

Mr Keenan confirmed that as TikTok’s Community Guidelines updates rolled out to users, “every member” of the site will be prompted to read the updated rules in the coming weeks.

“We’ve made significant strides to improve our policies and enforcement, including our efficacy, speed, and consistency, though we recognise there’s no finish line when it comes to keeping people safe,” he said.

“We’re driven by our passion to help everyone have a good and enriching experience on TikTok.”

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