TikTok warns parents over suicide video

Published: 04:45 PM, 8 Sep, 2020
TikTok warns parents over suicide video
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TikTok is warning parents and users over a suicide video that has been embedded in a clip.

The video showing an American man taking his own life came from a Facebook livestream and has been uploaded to various social media platforms, sometimes edited into other, unrelated videos.

"We're aware that clips of a suicide that was livestreamed on Facebook have recently circulated on other platforms, including TikTok," TikTok tweeted on Monday.

The short-form video platform said its systems were automatically detecting and flagging the clips for violating its community guidelines. "We're removing content & banning accounts that repeatedly try to upload clips, and we appreciate our community members who've reported content & warned others against watching, engaging, or sharing such videos on any platform out of respect for the individual & their loved ones," TikTok said.

TikTok, hugely popular with children and teenagers, suggests new videos from sources users don't subscribe to on their For You pages.

Kirra Pendergast, CEO of Australian cyber safety provider Safe on Social, advised parents to keep young children off the site for the next couple of days until all the clips had been found and removed. "This content is being quite widely shared so we want to minimize the damage as much as possible," she said on Facebook.

Pendergast said the clip was being shared on TikTok disguised as a video about kittens. "It's woken a lot of parents up to what their kids can be exposed to, when kids as young as eight are using TikTok and could see this while thinking they're watching a video of a kitten. It's terrifying for parents," she told the Sydney Morning Herald.

EU's hate speech code of conduct

TikTok, which is wildly popular among teenagers, has joined the EU's code of conduct against hate speech, the EU said.

Owned by Chinese company Bytedance, TikTok is under fire for not doing enough to curb hate speech and has launched a global effort to show its willingness to better police content.

Last month, TikTok said it had removed more than 380,000 videos in the US this year as part of its mission to "eliminate hate" on the platform. TikTok is also fighting accusations in the US that it is linked to the Chinese government and faces an order by President Donald Trump to stop running the app there.

Launched in 2016, the EU's code of conduct on hate speech is voluntary and has been signed by the Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Microsoft, Instagram, Google+ and Snapchat.

"It's good that TikTok joined the code –- a company favoured by young users who are particularly vulnerable to online abuse and illegal hate speech," said EU vice president Vera Jourova. "Of course, I expect TikTok to adhere not only to the code's principles, but also fully respect European law when operating on European soil," she said.

According to the latest data from the EU commission, participating platforms assess 90 percent of reported content within 24 hours and remove 71 percent of content considered illegal.

"Our ultimate goal is to eliminate hate on TikTok," said Cormac Keenan, Tiktok's head of trust and safety for Europe.

"We recognise that this may seem an insurmountable challenge as the world is increasingly polarised, but we believe that this shouldn't stop us from trying," he said.

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Agence France-Presse is an international news agency.