Madeline Moncrieff, Director of Legal - EMEA
In just a few short years, TikTok has become a destination for creativity, culture and entertainment for the 134m people across Europe* who come to the platform every month.
With this scale comes significant responsibility. One such responsibility that we're embracing today is our compliance with the Digital Services Act (DSA), new European legislation designed to further strengthen the safety of people on platforms like ours.
Over the past 12 months, more than 1,000 people from multiple teams across our business have worked to get us ready to comply with the DSA from Day 1. In line with our obligations under the DSA as a designated 'Very Large Online Platform' (VLOP), we've implemented significant changes to the TikTok product experience. These include new processes and features designed to further enhance transparency of our approach to areas such as advertising, content moderation and recommendation systems. We've also established a new compliance function to ensure we continue to deliver against the significant commitments of this landmark piece of content safety legislation.
A key objective of the DSA is to give users of digital services even greater insight into the work we do to keep them safe and provide them with additional tools - and ultimately, greater choice - over their own experience of the platform.
To make it as easy as possible for our community to understand these changes, we're also launching a new European Online Safety Hub. This new hub will ultimately be available in 23 different European languages and serve as a 'one-stop-shop' for our community to learn more about how we're complying with the DSA and what this means for them in terms of their TikTok experience.
To mark our official 'Day 1', here are some of the key changes:
- Illegal content reporting: this additional reporting option allows people to report content (including advertising) that they believe to be illegal in the EEA. Any reported content will be reviewed against our Community Guidelines and ad policies - and removed globally if found to violate our policies. If it does not, our new additional dedicated team of moderators and legal specialists will assess whether the content violates local law and access to that content will be restricted in that country. Both the person who posted the content and the person who reported it will be informed of the decision and rationale for the decision, with the opportunity to appeal should they disagree
- Popular feed: users in Europe can now turn off personalisation so that their For You and LIVE feeds instead recommend both locally relevant and globally 'popular' videos, rather than content based on their personal interests. Similarly, when using non-personalised search, users will see results made up of popular content from their region and in their preferred language. Users' Following and Friends feeds will show creators they follow in chronological order only. This feature is in addition to existing customisation options, such as 'Refresh', which provides a new set of popular videos as if the user has just signed up for TikTok and 'Why this video', which gives the user the option to check why they are seeing a certain video in their feed
- Commercial Content Library: this searchable database offers information about paid ads on TikTok and ad 'metadata' - such as the advertising creative, dates the ad ran, and the main parameters used for targeting
- API research access: applications opened in early August to European academics who wish to research our platform, with the goal of bringing greater transparency to content on TikTok
- Commercial content labelling: to make it clearer to our global community what content is of a commercial nature, we now offer a wider range of labels that individuals and businesses can tag to their content. The label options include: "ad/sponsored" (content paid for by advertisers); "paid partnership" (a commercial partnership between an individual and a brand); or "promotional content" (organic content by an individual/ business that is used to promote their own brand, product or service)
- Limiting personalised ads for U18s: as of July, users in Europe aged 13-17 no longer see personalised advertising based on their activities on or off TikTok
These changes highlight the breadth and scope of the DSA - but our work does not begin and end on Day 1. In accordance with DSA guidelines, we'll soon publish our first Transparency report, which will include a breakdown of the number of monthly active users in each individual EU member state, and further insights into our content moderation activities.
Working to keep our community safe has no finish line and through continued close collaboration with industry partners, regulators, and civil society, we'll strive to embrace the spirit of transparency and user empowerment that the DSA sets out to deliver to people across Europe.
*Europe refers to EEA; European community refers to users located in EEA countries.