TikTok sets up new safety council for content moderation

2 Mar 2021

Image: © Denys Prykhodov/Stock.adobe.com

The head of SpunOut.ie is one of the founding members of the group that will assist TikTok with moderating content on the platform.

TikTok has established a safety advisory council in Europe that will assist with content moderation on the video-sharing platform.

The council’s members will work with the Chinese-owned company to craft policies for removing harmful or illegal content and to identify future trends that may be challenging.

There are nine founding members of the council from several countries in Europe representing charities, non-profits and academia.

Among them is Ian Power, the chief executive of Irish not-for-profit Community Creations, the organisation behind youth health information service SpunOut.ie and crisis helpline 50808.

TikTok’s product policy team in Europe is led from the company’s Dublin base, which has been growing its employee footprint rapidly, and is headed up by Julie de Bailliencourt.

“Everything we do is aimed at ensuring TikTok is a safe place that enables creative expression to flourish,” de Bailliencourt said. “The challenges that face us are complex and constantly evolving, which makes partnering with outside experts vital.”

More members from other countries and other fields of expertise are expected to be added to the council soon.

“The range of challenges young people face online continues to evolve, and we are learning more and more about their experiences and best practices in online safety every day,” Power added.

“TikTok has taken a proactive approach in making their platform a safer place for creators and users, and I’m looking forward to working with colleagues on the European Safety Advisory Council to support TikTok to continue this important work.”

TikTok, much like the other major social media platforms, faces mounting pressure to improve its content moderation practices. The EU’s Digital Services Act will place much stricter regulatory responsibilities on the likes of TikTok, Facebook and Twitter to police content on their platforms and, where appropriate, remove content.

National authorities have also moved against TikTok, most notably Italy which ordered the company to put tighter controls in place to verify the age of users. Last month, European consumer rights groups BEUC filed a complaint with the European Commission over how TikTok handles the data of users that are under 18.

Jonathan Keane is a freelance business and technology journalist based in Dublin