By Eric Ebenstein, Public Policy, TikTok
Today, we are publishing our first Transparency Report. This report provides important insight and clarity to our users regarding the volume and nature of governmental requests for our users' account information and other legal notifications.
At TikTok, we are committed to enabling our users to create and have fun in a safe and supportive environment. We believe that when people feel safe, their creativity can flourish. That's why we want to be transparent about how we work appropriately with the legitimate requests of governments and law enforcement authorities.
Like all global internet platforms, TikTok is subject to a variety of laws and regulations in each country. Occasionally we are presented with requests from various official bodies in the countries where the TikTok app operates, such as government agencies or law enforcement officials, asking us to take certain actions at their behest. These include requests to take down content deemed to be in violation of local laws, or to provide information related to accounts under certain defined circumstances, such as to assist in a criminal investigation or emergency request.
We take such requests extremely seriously, and closely review each request that we receive to determine whether, for example, the request adheres to the required legal process or the content violates a local law. TikTok is committed to assisting law enforcement in appropriate circumstances while at the same time respecting the privacy and rights of our users. For more on our policies and practices, please see our Law Enforcement Data Request Guidelines.
To foster candid dialogue essential to earning and maintaining trust, we're releasing our first Transparency Report this year to show how we responsibly engage with government bodies in the markets where TikTok operates. In this report, users will find details pertaining to how we've responded to legal requests related to content and account information from January 1 – June 30, 2019.
For example, the report shows how we responded to the 298 legal requests for information we received from 28 countries over this 6-month period. In balancing our responsibilities to law enforcement with our respect for the privacy of our users, we respond only to legally valid requests and only with the requisite amount of information needed. It also shows how we responded to the 26 requests to remove or restrict content from government bodies in 9 countries, as well as how we handled content copyright take-down requests to help copyright holders protect their intellectual property.
Going forward, we will be regularly releasing these reports, with a report covering the second half of 2019 to follow in the coming months. We believe it is incumbent upon us to provide clear information for each market to show how we balance cooperation with legal requests and protection of user rights. Through these periodic updates, our community will have the opportunity to better understand the actions we take on their behalf and to evaluate us based on up-to-date information.
Our first Transparency Report can be found on our Safety Center at https://www.tiktok.com/safety/resources/transparency-report – where we will house all of our Transparency Reports going forward.