TikTok bans misgendering, deadnaming, and content promoting disordered eating

TikTok has updated its community guidelines to ban misgendering, deadnaming, and content promoting disordered eating. It’s also introducing a new feature to let people add their pronouns.

Content promoting eating disorders is already banned on the platform, but the platform remains flooded with videos of unhealthy eating habits. The company announced yesterday that it would begin removing videos that promote disordered eating symptoms.

‘We’re making this change, in consultation with eating disorders experts, researchers, and physicians, as we understand that people can struggle with unhealthy eating patterns and behaviour without having an eating disorder diagnosis,’ said Cormac Keenan, TikTok’s Head of Trust and Safety in a statement.

‘Our aim is to acknowledge more symptoms, such as overexercise or short-term fasting, that are frequently under-recognized signs of a potential problem,’ he said.

In a nod to LGBTQ+ rights, the company is also banning deadnaming, misgendering as well as content promoting conversion therapy.

‘On top of this, we hope our recent feature enabling people to add their pronouns will encourage respectful and inclusive dialogue on our platform,’ said Keenan.

The short-form video platform has also taken note of the dangerous viral challenges and hoaxes on its platform and is strengthening its dangerous acts and challenges policy.

‘We continue to enact the stricter approach we previously announced to help prevent such content — including suicide hoaxes — from spreading on our platform,’ said the company.

This previously sat within TikTok’s suicide and self-harm policies, but will now be highlighted in a separate category to make it more accessible for users.

‘We use a combination of technology and people to identify and remove violations of our Community Guidelines, and we will continue training our automated systems and safety teams to uphold our policies,’ said Keenan.

According to a recent report by the company, over 91 million videos were removed in the last quarter of 2021, which is around 1% of all videos uploaded. Of those videos, 95.1% were removed before a user reported it, with 88.8% removed before anyone viewed it and 93.9% removed within 24 hours of being posted.

The app continues to detect and remove certain categories of videos at upload – including adult nudity and sexual activities, minor safety, and illegal activities and regulated goods.

This enables their teams to focus on reviewing contextual or nuanced content, such as hate speech, bullying and harassment, and misinformation.

TikTok also announced that it was opening ‘state-of-the-art cyber incident monitoring and investigative response centres in Washington DC, Dublin, and Singapore this year’ to help in monitoring and intelligence gathering.

Users can expect to be prompted to read the updated guidelines when they open the app in the coming weeks.

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