TikTok Bans Some Advertisements

TikTok on Wednesday announced plans to tighten its advertising policies on weight loss and dieting products such as fasting apps and weight-loss supplements, and increase restrictions on ads that promote a harmful or negative body image.

The policies prohibit ads from promoting weight loss and weight-management products or services based on a negative body image or negative relationship with food.

The policy stipulates that weight-management products can only reach users age 18 or older, and also include stronger restrictions on weight loss and implied weight-loss claims, as well as limits to irresponsible claims made by products that promote weight-loss management or control.

TikTok also introduced several in-app controls to manage the experience on the platform, including filtering out comments. The company added a "not interested" option to limit similar videos, helping those who might struggle with weight or eating disorders.

There are two ways to filter comments that users don't want to see. In the Privacy section of the app settings, users must select "comment filters." The first option automatically hides offensive comments that TikTok’s systems detect in the videos. The second option allows users to create a custom list of keywords, so that comments containing those words will be hidden automatically.

Users who come across ads or content promoting harmful behaviors or imagery can report the ad by long-pressing on the video, selecting "report," and choosing "self-harm."

The reporting of disturbing ads requires users to long-press on the video, select "not interested," and choose to hide future videos from the creator or hide videos that use the same sound.

In an effort to promote positive experiences for users, TikTok partnered with the National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA) to connect users looking for support to resources directly from the app. 

The company also said it will launch a dedicated page in its app to support Weight Stigma Awareness Week, scheduled to take place between September 28 and October 2. The page will promote NEDA's #EndWeightHateCampaign. 

Similar to Google and Facebook, TikTok on Tuesday released a Transparency Report for the first half of 2020.

The company said it removed 104,543,719 videos globally for violating its Community Guidelines or Terms of Service, which is less than 1% of all videos uploaded on TikTok. About 96.4% of these videos were removed before being reported, and 90.3% were removed before they were viewed.

Of the total videos removed globally, 9.4% were removed in the U.S. and 0.5% of them were removed for violating misinformation and disinformation policies. 

A total of 321,786 videos in the U.S. were removed for violating hate-speech policies.

With the success of TikTok, the volume of legal requests also increased during the first half of this year.

The company said it received 1,768 requests for user information from 42 countries and markets.  Of those requests, 290 came from U.S. law enforcement agencies.

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