TikTok has introduced updated rules and standards for content and users as it faces growing pressure from Western authorities over concerns that material from the popular Chinese video-sharing app could be used to spread false information.
LONDON — TikTok unveiled updated rules and standards for content and users on Tuesday as it faces growing pressure from Western authorities over concerns that content from the popular Chinese video-sharing app could be used to spread false information.
The company has released a reorganized set of community guidelines that includes eight principles to guide decisions about content moderation.
“These principles are based on our commitment to protecting human rights and are in line with international legal norms,” said Julie de Bayencourt, Global Head of Product Policy at TikTok.
She said TikTok is committed to being fair, protecting human dignity, and balancing freedom of expression with harm prevention.
The Chinese-owned app has come under fire in the US, Europe, and Asia-Pacific, where a growing number of governments are banning TikTok from devices used for official purposes over concerns that it poses a threat to cybersecurity and data privacy or could be used to promoting pro-Beijing narratives and disinformation.
So far, there is no evidence that this happened or that TikTok handed over user data to the Chinese government, as some of its critics claim.
CEO Show Zi Chu is scheduled to speak before the US Congress on Thursday, where he will be questioned about the company’s privacy and data security policies, as well as its relationship with the Chinese government.
The rules, effective April 21, have been reworked from the existing TikTok rules with additional details and clarifications.
Among the most significant changes is more information about restrictions on deepfakes, also known as synthetic media, created using artificial intelligence technology. TikTok has been more clear on its policy by saying that all deepfakes or manipulated content that shows realistic scenes must be flagged to indicate they are fake or altered in some way.
TikTok has previously banned deepfakes that mislead viewers about real events and cause harm. Its updated rules state that deepfakes by individuals and young people are also not allowed.
Deepfakes of public figures are acceptable in certain contexts, such as for artistic or educational content, but not for political or commercial support.