TikTok, the well-known short-video sharing platform, has pioneered in being the first to propagate the idea of forming a global coalition to better combat harmful and offensive content on their platforms, as it announced officially on September 22. This was due to the increased cases of misinformation and offensive content being shared by Internet users.
Reasons behind the formation of the global coalition
TikTok has taken the lead in proposing the formation of a global coalition to better combat harmful content on their platforms. It happened because of the increased cases of inappropriate content being shared by social media users. The company stated that the efficacy of individual efforts in curbing the problem was not ideal in the long run. As such, the effort to safeguard its users is more effective through a formal, collaborative approach.
The idea arose amidst a political battle between Washington and Beijing. The need for a functioning global coalition became more important after TikTok failed to contain a video showing a person committing suicide from being spread and re-uploaded. The incident also indicated the incapability of the platform to contain offensive videos properly. However, the company has since promised to improve on its security system and buff up its mechanism on content reviews.
The CEO of TikTok, Vanessa Pappas has written to nine major heads of social media and content companies.
The company had sent letters to nine companies for a memorandum of understanding on better content regulation. The companies were Facebook, Instagram, Google, YouTube, Twitter, Twitch, Snapchat, Reddit and Pinterest. Moreover, the company said a meeting had been proposed with the recipient companies to discuss the matter soon.
What are the current mechanisms in curbing the spread of offensive content?
Tiktok had removed more than 104 million videos from its platform around the world in the first half of the year 2020 for violating its terms of service. This figure has more than double the 49 million violated videos it removed in the second half of 2019. Among those videos, TikTok detected and removed 96.4 per cent of videos before a user reported them, and 90.3 per cent were removed before they received any views.
Response from the US and China’s administration
ByteDance, the Beijing-based Internet technology company which owns TikTok, is now competing with time to prevent an ultimate crackdown on TikTok after being at loggerheads with the U.S. Government. On the other hand, US Officials have expressed concern that personal data of as many as 100 million Americans that use the app is being passed on to China’s Communist Party government.
Tiktok is currently the major subject of deal negotiations over its US arm, between Chinese parent Bytedance and proposed US technology partners Oracle and Walmart.
The United States has given the deal preliminary approval but has not yet obtained the final approval in either Washington or Beijing. But, surely, the negotiations will certainly take a long time.
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Prepared by: Chun Wai