The European Union has set a clear vision for platform regulation with the Digital Services Act (DSA). Following our updates in July about our Research API and Commercial Content Library, today we are providing more information about the work that we are doing to meet our obligations under the Act by the August 28 deadline.
A new easy way to report illegal content
Our Community Guidelines and Terms of Service outline what is and isn't allowed on TikTok. These policies apply to everyone and everything on the platform. We primarily use machine moderation and teams of moderators to identify and take action against content and accounts that violate these policies, and we make it easy for our community to report potentially violative content for us to review.
In the coming weeks, we are introducing an additional reporting option for our European* community that will allow people to report content they believe is illegal, including advertising. To make this as easy as possible, people will be able to choose from a list of categories such as hate speech, harassment, and financial crimes. We will provide a guide to help people better understand each category.
Content that is reported for being illegal will first be reviewed against our Community Guidelines and removed globally if it violates TikTok's policies. If it does not, then our new dedicated team of moderators and legal specialists will assess whether it violates the law and we will restrict access to the content in that country only. We will inform both the person who posted the content and the person who reported it of the decision we have made and why. Both will also be given the opportunity to appeal a decision they disagree with.
More information about our content moderation actions
Being transparent is one of our Community Principles: we want people to know and understand the decisions we make about their content and accounts. Currently, we inform creators when their content has been removed, when their account has received a strike, or when their account has been banned for violating our Community Guidelines - with appeal options for creators.
Under the DSA, we will provide our community in Europe with information about a broader range of content moderation decisions. For example, if we decide a video is ineligible for recommendation because it contains unverified claims about an election that is still unfolding, we will let users know. We will also share more detail about these decisions, including whether the action was taken by automated technology, and we will explain how both content creators and those who file a report can appeal a decision.
Explaining our recommendation system
Recommendation systems are a part of our every day life - from a music player suggesting a new artist to supermarket loyalty cards sending personalised offers based on previous purchases.
We have been transparent about the recommendation system that powers the For You feed, which sits at the heart of the TikTok experience. We've also added a Help Centre article so people can learn more about how it works and how they can influence what they see on their feed.
Over the last year, we have also been working to give people more control over their recommendations - from choosing to filter certain hashtags in their For You feed to using Refresh, which lets people view content on their For You feed as though they were brand new to TikTok.
As part of our efforts to meet DSA requirements, we will soon be giving our European community another way to discover content on TikTok by allowing them to turn off personalisation. This means their For You and LIVE feeds will instead show popular videos from both the places where they live and around the world, rather than recommending content to them based on their personal interests. Similarly, when using non-personalised search, they will see results made up of popular content from their region and in their preferred language. Their Following and Friends feeds will continue to show creators they follow, but in chronological order rather than based on the viewer's profile.
Changes to personalised ads for teens
Protecting the privacy of teens TikTok is a priority for us. Accounts for those aged under 16 are set to private by default and their content cannot be recommended in For You feeds. Now, users in Europe aged 13-17 will also no longer see personalised advertising based on their activities on or off TikTok. People already have control over the ads they can see and they can toggle personalised ads on or off in their settings.
Protecting our European community
Our mission is to inspire creativity and bring joy. We know that ensuring the safety, privacy, and security of our European community is critical to achieving that goal. We will continue to not only meet our regulatory obligations, but also strive to set new standards through innovative solutions and by working with our industry partners, regulators, lawmakers, and civil society.
*European community refers to TikTok users located in EEA countries.