TikTok released its global Transparency Report for the first six months of 2020 on September 22, 2020. The report provides insight into content removed from TikTok for violating its Community Guidelines or Terms of Service. It also covered how the company responded to copyright content take-down requests, law enforcement, and government agencies.
“We know how vital it is to build trust by being transparent with our community, and we’re committed to leading the way when it comes to bringing accountability to the tech industry. It’s why we release these reports to hold ourselves accountable to our community and provide transparency into the actions we take to help keep TikTok safe for everyone. It’s the reason we opened our global Transparency and Accountability Centers, where lawmakers and experts can see first-hand how we moderate content, secure our platform, and prioritize user safety and content diversity as we build TikTok. At our physical centers, we’ve even made TikTok’s source code available for testing and evaluation by experts,” said Michael Beckerman, VP, Head of US Public Policy & Eric Han, Head of Safety, TikTok US.
Hundreds of millions of people around the world come to TikTok for entertainment, self-expression, and connection. According to Beckerman, their focus remains on promoting a safe app experience that fosters joy and belonging among its growing global community.
Here’s what’s covered in TikTok’s global H1 2020 Transparency Report.
Promoting safety and community on TikTok
In the first half of 2020, numerous improvements in continuous effort to offer a safe and uplifting experience for people on the platform were made, which includes the following:
- Expanded Community Guidelines, including new policies to counter misinformation and disinformation
- Introduction of fact-checking programs to help verify misleading content about the novel coronavirus, elections, and more
- Addition of in-app educational PSAs on hashtags related to important topics in the public discourse, such as COVID-19, the elections, Black Lives Matter, and harmful conspiracies, such as QAnon
- Launch of Family Pairing, a suite of industry-leading youth safety features that let parents and guardians connect their TikTok account to their teens’ accounts to guide the type of content available to their teen, promote healthy screentime habits, and choose appropriate message settings
- Built global partnerships with leading safety organizations, such as the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and WePROTECT Global Alliance
- Creation of a Content Advisory Council of experts on topics like hate speech, inclusive AI, and youth safety
Community Guidelines enforcement
TikTok has experienced incredible and continued user growth in 2020. As more lives moved online, people increasingly found meaningful ways to connect with each other on the platform. With significantly more content being created by its global community than ever before, TikTok content removals have increased compared to the last report.
- 104,543,719 videos were removed globally for violating the Community Guidelines or Terms of Service, which is less than 1% of all videos uploaded on TikTok. Ninety-six point four percent (96.4%) of these videos were found and removed before they were reported, and 90.3% were removed before they received any views.
- Of the total videos removed globally, 9,822,996 (9.4%) were removed in the US. Diving into some of the areas of particular interest over these six months:
- 41,820 videos (less than 0.5% of those removed in the US) violated TikTok’s misinformation and disinformation policies.
Learn more on how TikTok combats misinformation and election interference
- 321,786 videos (around 3.3% of US content removals) violated TikTok’s hate speech policies.
Learn more on how TikTok works to counter hate speech, behavior, and groups
- In the US, 91.5% of violating videos were removed in less than 24 hours after they were uploaded to TikTok.
The volume of legal requests also increased as the TikTok community grew over the first half of this year.
- 1,768 requests for user information from 42 countries/markets were received
- Of those requests, 290 (16.4%) came from US law enforcement agencies.
TikTok received and evaluated:
- 126 subpoenas (when a US governmental entity issues a subpoena, we may disclose user data that includes basic subscriber information)
- 90 search warrants (when a US governmental entity obtains a search warrant, TikTok may disclose user data that include video content and user interactions)
- 6 court orders (when a US governmental entity obtains a court order, TikTok may disclose user data that includes log data)
- 68 emergency disclosure requests
- TikTok received 135 requests from government agencies to restrict or remove content from 15 countries/markets, and 4 of those requests came from US government agencies
- TikTok evaluated 10,625 copyrighted content take-down notices globally
The report has the full details on how TikTok evaluates and complies with the requests.
TikTok’s commitment to transparency and accountability
“TikTok strives to be the most transparent and accountable company in the industry when it comes to how we’re keeping our users safe. We’re proud of the progress we’ve made to increase visibility in these areas, and we aim to keep providing more information in each report,” Beckerman shared.
According to Beckerman, the full disclosure of the report is part of the company’s commitment to transparency and accountability. TikTok is also working towards being able to report this information and the progress made on a quarterly basis to increase accountability to its community.