TikTok removing graphic clip circulating on its platform

FILE PHOTO: A TikTok logo is displayed on a smartphone
FILE PHOTO: A TikTok logo is displayed on a smartphone in this illustration taken January 6, 2020. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

September 8, 2020

(Reuters) – Popular short-video app TikTok said (https://twitter.com/TikTokSupport/status/1303114495020072960) on Monday it was removing a clip of a suicide circulating on its platform and was banning accounts that were repeatedly trying to upload the clip.

TikTok did not specify the video, but at least two media reports https://www.theverge.com/2020/9/7/21426176/tiktok-suicide-video-remove-ban-community-warnings-creators said that videos of a man shooting himself with a gun had been circulating on TikTok since Sunday night.

“We’re aware that clips of a suicide that was livestreamed on Facebook have recently circulated on other platforms, including TikTok. Our systems have been automatically detecting and flagging these clips for violating our Community Guidelines,” TikTok said on Twitter.

TikTok did not immediately respond to a Reuters request to specify the video clip that it removed. Facebook did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

TikTok, whose China-based owner Bytedance has been ordered by President Donald Trump to sell its U.S. operations, has been criticized for its content moderation policy in the past, especially on circulation of graphic content.

The company rolled out a new content moderation infrastructure in December under which it labeled the videos that were removed by the company with the policy category they violated, it said in its transparency report published in July.

(Reporting by Aakriti Bhalla in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)