TikTok is updating its Community Guidelines and introducing new features that the company says will support the wellbeing of its users. Some policy changes are addressing content for which the company has previously come under fire, including videos that critics say glorify eating disorders and dangerous viral challenges.
The company announced today that it would begin removing videos promoting disrupted eating symptoms, such as short-term fasting and excessive exercise. Content promoting eating disorders has already been banned on the platform, but news reports repeatedly show users being exposed to videos depicting unhealthy eating habits. At a congressional hearing in October, senators urged TikTok representatives to further protect young users.
“We are making this change in consultation with eating disorder experts, researchers and physicians because we understand that people can struggle with unhealthy eating patterns and behaviors without a diagnosis of an eating disorder,” the company says in today’s announcement.
The policy changes also contribute to a ban on hateful ideologies, explicitly banning dead names, wrong genders, and misogyny, as well as content promoting conversion therapy.
Critics of the social media giant have raised the alarm about dangerous challenges and hoaxes circulating on the platform. In addition to adding more details to its online challenge policy, TikTok says it will release a series of videos created with creators to help viewers rate the content they encounter. Videos appear in the #SaferTogether hub on the Discover page, the company says.
More than 91 million videos — accounting for about 1 percent of uploaded videos — were removed for content violation in the third quarter of 2021, according to a TikTok transparency report released today.
“We are using a combination of technology and people to identify and remove violations of our Community Guidelines, and we will continue to train our automated systems and security teams to enforce our policies,” the company said in its announcement.