TikTok, in a blog post Wednesday, pledged to do more to tackle hateful content on its platform, promising to remove content that is hurtful to the LGBTQ+ community, linked with white supremacists and neo-Nazis, and spreads misinformation about Jewish, Muslim and other communities, marking another escalation in an ongoing effort by social media companies to crack down on harmful content and misinformation.
TikTok said it would be stepping up efforts to tackle hateful content adjacent to neo-Nazi and white supremacist ideologies, which the company says it already works hard to remove, including white nationalism and white genocide theory.
Content that has roots in these ideologies, such as male supremacy and Identitarianism, will also be removed.
Content that is hurtful to the LGBTQ+ community will also be taken down, including “the idea that no one is born LGBTQ+” and content about conversion therapy.
TikTok said it would also do more to remove misinformation and hurtful stereotypes about Jewish, Muslim, and other communities, as well as misinformation about notable Jewish individuals and families, “who are used as proxies to spread antisemitism.”
With the assistance of academics and experts from around the world, TikTok said it would be taking steps to proactively protect its users, including a crack down on “coded language and symbols that can normalise hateful speech and behaviour.”
While TikTok has previously banned content denying the Holocaust, the platform’s algorithm was found by a BBC investigation to have spread an anti-Semitic song earlier this year that eventually rackd up 6.5 million views.
The platform later deleted the clip, but faced renewed calls to regulate its content and algorithm, while it also faced accusations of having a “Nazi problem”.
Social media companies, facing calls from lawmakers and campaigners, are grappling with a growing epidemic of hateful and untruthful content on their platforms and often find themselves treading a fine line between accusations of censorship and allowing hate and lies to spread.
Misinformation and conspiracy theories have become especially problematic in the context of a global pandemic and the upcoming election in the U.S., with TikTok previously banning content promoting the QAnon conspiracy, joining Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook that are cracking down on accounts linked to the conspiracy theory.