With moves to ban TikTok in the U.S., the social media platform owned by ByteDance has updated its Community Guidelines to include changes surrounding AI-generated content, hate speech and election integrity.
As part of the announcement, the company says it is sharing its Community Principles for the first time, adding that “these principles are based on our commitment to uphold human rights and aligned with international legal frameworks” –– a likely attempt to appeal to the US government before CEO Shou Zi Chew faces Congress.
In updating its guidelines, TikTok states that it consulted over 100 organization around the world, “including our US Content Advisory Council.”
One big change to the platform’s guidelines involves synthetic media. The company now states that AI creations depicting realistic scenes must be labeled.
“AI can make it more difficult to distinguish between fact and fiction, carrying both societal and individual risks,” TikTok writes. “Synthetic or manipulated media that shows realistic scenes must be clearly disclosed. This can be done through the use of a sticker or caption.”
In addition, TikTok will not allow its one billion global users to share synthetic media containing the likeness of any “real private figure.” For public figures, synthetic media will be taken down if it is used for endorsements or violates other policies like hate speech, sexual exploitation and harassment.
TikTok has also added concrete guidelines focused on combating election misinformation as well as the protections of government and political party accounts.
“There’s clearly a tilt towards benefiting and protecting politicians here –– the people that will ultimately be voting on a TikTok ban,” writes Social Media Today.
In terms of its refined moderation approach, TikTok says it will work to “remove violative content,” “age-restrict mature content,” “filter recommended content in the For You feed,” and “empower our community with information tools and resources to stay in control of their experiences” on the app.
TikTok is addressing points that U.S. government officials are most concerned about, while continuing to prove its distance from the influence of the Chinese government.
In his testimony to Congress on Tuesday, Chew said that “ByteDance is not an agent of China or any other country…Rather, our approach has been to work transparently and cooperatively with the U.S. government and Oracle to design robust solutions to address concerns about TikTok’s heritage.”
Chew added that banning TikTok in the US would hurt American businesses and the overall economy, and that the company looks “forward to partnering with the Committee on developing clear, consistent rules for the entire industry.”
These new Community Guidelines, which will take effect on April 21st, are the first step.