By  Arjun Narayan, Director Trust & Safety,  TikTok - APAC

Over the past few weeks, we've introduced several initiatives as part of our efforts to tackle misinformation related to COVID-19. While spread of misinformation is a shared and collective responsibility, at TikTok, we strive to do everything we can to empower our community with a safe and positive in-app environment and experience.

Furthering our commitment, we are taking significant steps to curb the spread of misinformation for the benefit of our community.

COVID-19 Misinformation In-App Reporting 

We have introduced an enhanced in-app reporting feature. If users come across content they believe contains intentionally deceptive information, they can report it by selecting the new 'Misleading Information' category within the app. Further if the content is pertaining to COVID-19, they can choose a sub-category within the feature. The interface of this feature is intuitive and easy to use,  thus allowing for greater participation from our community and allowing us to be more efficient in managing misinformation.  

When users report any content as 'COVID-19 Misinformation', it is sent to a priority moderation queue which is manned by an internal Taskforce and escalated to third-party fact-checkers. The Taskforce has been set up as a proactive measure to strengthen our capabilities in addressing misinformation around COVID-19 and prioritise decision making.  It is supported by a large internal team working on content safety across TikTok.

We have partnered with Vishvas News, the fact-checking arm of the Jagran group, which is  IFCN certified. This feature is being rolled out to all our users in a phased manner.  

Misinformation Research Grant

We believe tackling misinformation requires a long term and sustainable approach with the help of experts from NGOs, academia and governments. To this effect, we will be inviting credible partners to submit proposals for a misinformation research grant of USD50K (INR3.5 Million). The objective of this effort is to better understand the misinformation ecosystem on social media. This includes, detailed understanding for the industry as a whole, how to further improve detection of such content, how it spreads, the motivations that drive creation, and also how to design, measure and conduct effective interventions to limit the negative impact of misinformation.

Tackling misinformation is just one of the ways we are committed to protecting the safety and integrity of the platform. We continue to work toward improving the app and user experience, and hope these tools around misinformation can help foster a welcoming space for all our users to express their creativity and find joyful, meaningful content on TikTok.