By Michael Beckerman, Vice President and Head of Public Policy, Americas

At TikTok, we aim to play a positive role in the lives of our community members, whether they're looking for an entertaining platform or a supportive community. We're mindful that everyone who comes to TikTok has different life experiences and backgrounds, and we strive to foster a supportive environment where everyone feels safe exploring and sharing their stories.

Today is National Fentanyl Awareness Day, an opportunity to join together to educate ourselves and others about the growing fentanyl epidemic. This public health crisis has undoubtedly touched the lives of many across the US, and we're taking action to educate our community about the dangers of illicit drugs, remove drug content on our platform, and partner with experts to connect our community with resources. We're also pleased to share our support for California Assembly Bill 1628, which will require online platforms like TikTok to publicly post our policies related to the sale and distribution of illicit substances like fentanyl.

Supporting the well-being of our community
People come to TikTok to express themselves, find support, connect with people who share their experiences —and this is especially evident among those who have been impacted by addiction. We've seen our community embrace hashtags, like #recovery and #addictionawareness, which offer hubs for conversation, learning, and encouragement. To help maintain this trusted atmosphere, we take a strict stance against content that promotes drug use on TikTok.

Our Community Guidelines make clear that we do not permit the depiction, promotion, or trade of drugs or other controlled substances. We developed our policies with an eye toward empathy and healing, which is why we allow people to share their personal experiences with addiction and recovery. Additionally, our advertising policies prohibit the promotion, sale, or facilitation of access to illegal drugs, controlled drugs, prescriptive drugs, recreational drugs, and drug paraphernalia. We also encourage people to let us know if they feel concerned about another person on the platform.

Preventing the spread of harmful content
We use a combination of technology and people to review content uploaded to TikTok. We also empower our community to report content that they believe may breach our Community Guidelines using our simple in-app reporting function. In addition, we redirect searches and hashtags like #drugs to our Community Guidelines to reinforce that TikTok is not a space for drug content and behavior.

Content that promotes drug use and paraphernalia is incompatible with our commitment to providing a safe and supportive environment for our community. While we’re always working to improve the way we address any such content on platform, last year 95% of the content we removed in the US was addressed proactively, and 90% of content removals were handled within 24 hours of posting.

Partnering for a brighter future
Last year at the Food and Drug Administration's Online Opioid Summit, we affirmed our commitment to working to combat online drug sales, and we're proud to partner with organizations like LegitScript and Song for Charlie that help us expand how we care for our community. Additionally, we've donated $100K in advertising credits to the Ad Council and $25K to Song for Charlie to aid their efforts in spreading awareness around the dangers of fentanyl.

The CDC estimates the rates of overdose deaths involving synthetic opioids, including fentanyl, increased over 16% from 2018 to 2019. We know that properly addressing the opioid crisis will take everyone coming together to prevent drug sales and connecting those living with addiction with help and resources. We're participating in National Fentanyl Awareness Day because we believe this is possible. Each day we see what impact can happen when people come together and support one another, and we're focused on achieving a world with fewer overdoses, more treatment and recoveries, and more compassion.

To learn more about National Fentanyl Awareness Day, please visit here.

"We are grateful to our friends at TikTok for their support of National Fentanyl Awareness Day and for helping us to alert our youth to the dangers of fentanyl in fake pills and street drugs. Through our partnership, we are reaching millions of young people on TikTok with this important, life saving message.” — Ed Ternan, Founder of Song for Charlie

"We're proud to partner with TikTok to proactively detect and prevent dangerous and illicit drugs from being sold on its platform. In our work making the internet safer across many high-risk areas, nothing is more important than protecting the public from potentially lethal opioids and other drugs being sold online. By partnering with LegitScript to monitor its platform, TikTok is demonstrating that it takes illicit drugs sales seriously and that it cares about the well-being of its users." — Scott Roth, CEO of LegitScript