TikTok grants ‘selected researchers’ greater access to data to improve transparency

27 Jul 2022

Image: © Natalia/Stock.adobe.com

TikTok COO Vanessa Pappas said it had developed its new transparency strategy following feedback from ‘researchers, academics and experts’.

Video sharing platform TikTok has said it is strengthening its commitment to transparency, particularly when it comes to how it moderates and recommends content.

TikTok COO, Vanessa Pappas, said in a blogpost published today (27 July) that the company was building an API for researchers to access public and anonymised data about the content and activity on TikTok.

Pappas said the company plans to make this API available to “selected researchers” later this year. It was introduced as currently there are no “easy and accurate ways to identify and assess content and trends or conduct tests” on the platform.

As well as this, TikTok has developed a moderation system API, which it will make available to selected researchers this autumn. It will be available at TikTok’s Transparency and Accountability Centres. The moderation system API will provide selected researchers an effective way to evaluate TikTok’s content moderation systems and examine existing content available on its platform. Researchers will also be able to upload their own content to see how different types of content are either permitted, rejected or passed to moderators for further evaluation.

TikTok’s Transparency and Accountability Centres were first launched two years ago. Pappas said the company has been publishing transparency reports since its “early days”.

“We aim to surpass the high expectations our community and stakeholders rightly have for us so we can continue to serve everyone who creates, connects and is entertained on TikTok. We’ve been listening to feedback from different communities of researchers, academics and experts,” said Pappas, commenting on the reasons behind today’s announcement.

Last April, TikTok announced it was opening a Transparency and Accountability Centre in Ireland, its first in Europe.

The company also today pledged to deepen its information sharing with its content and safety advisory councils, who will be granted API access.

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Blathnaid O’Dea is Careers reporter at Silicon Republic