On 21 March 2023, TikTok announced updates to its community guidelines. After being susceptible to the US ban, it overhauled its Community Guidelines with changes relevant to hate speech, political issues, and synthetic media or artificial intelligence (AI).
Digital Information World thinks that “TikTok [displays] as much optimism as it can during this difficult period of time.” Everyone may agree with this because about 150 million TikTok users are in the USA, so it is not a simple concern for one of the social media giants.
Nonetheless, they were transparent about the US ban issue. On a blog, they wrote:
“This milestone coincides with a critical period for TikTok. Certain politicians have raised concerns about the potential banning of our platform, which would directly affect all 150 million Americans who have embraced TikTok. To proactively address US national security concerns, we’ve taken unprecedented steps by enhancing safeguards for our US users.”
On 23th March, US legislators probed TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew over suspected Chinese influence on the platform, claiming that the app’s short videos were harming children’s mental health and instilling political concepts through the app’s sway over Americans. However, the changes that have been released already seem to align with what US officials may like in terms of moderation. TikTok also states that its Community Principles depend on its commitment to promoting human rights and conforming with global legal frameworks.
As a social media marketing agency in Market Harborough, we know that the changes in Community Guidelines will also impact brands and small businesses. Whether it’s a benefit or not, read on to find out.
Changes in Synthetic Media
For TikTok, “synthetic media” is content that’s generated or edited by AI. Experts and even ordinary people who often use social media platforms know that, although AI allows users to express themselves creatively in techy ways, it can still confuse others between reality and fantasy.
According to TikTok:
“We welcome the creativity that new [AI] and other digital technologies may unlock. However, AI can make it more difficult to distinguish between fact and fiction, carrying both societal and individual risks. Synthetic … or manipulated media that shows realistic scenes must be clearly disclosed. This can be done through the use of a sticker or caption, such as ‘synthetic’, ‘fake’, ‘not real’, or ‘altered’.”
In short, creators must make it clear to the viewers that they are showing synthetic or altered media to reduce the danger of spreading false information.
Moreover, synthetic media involving actual private users is forbidden to minimise possible harm. This means that they no longer allow synthetic media that “contains the likeness of any real private figure.” Private users include everyone who is not a public figure. Public figure depictions are permitted as long as they are not utilised for advertising items and the platform’s regulations are not violated. For example, public individuals cannot be exploited in synthetic audio or video for commercial or political endorsements in order to deceive people about financial or political concerns.
Of course, synthetic media may be used for creative and educational purposes.
Changes in Tribe Protection
TikTok’s standards already implement rules that protect individuals and groups with identified characteristics from hostile conduct, hateful principles, and hate speech. But with the new guidelines, TikTok counted Tribes to the list of protected people with specific characteristics. These include religion, sexual orientation, gender, ethnicity, and race.
Changes in Civic and Election Integrity Protection
TikTok has also expanded on its approach to government, politicians, and political party accounts and how it safeguards civil and electoral integrity. The new standards indicate that information that misleads the public about elections or other civic activities is not permitted.
As per the company:
“Our political ads policy includes both traditional paid ads and creators receiving compensation to support or oppose a candidate for office […] We do not allow misinformation about how to vote, registering to vote, eligibility requirements of candidates, the processes to count ballots and certify elections, and the final outcome of an election.”
TikTok encourages educated civic idea sharing to foster positive dialogues without tolerating false information regarding voting procedures and election results.
How the changes affect businesses
The fundamental changes in TikTok Community Guidelines do not target businesses, but of course, as they are also users of the platform, they should comply with the updated policies.
We, a social media marketing agency in Market Harborough, believe that the updates benefit small businesses as they are also protected against violence and hate speech.
Some brands or businesses are quite expressive about their political opinions; however, with the new Community Guidelines, it’s recommended to be more deliberate or think twice before posting anything related to politics because their accounts might be suspended.
Anyway, no one is exempted. Creators who want to guard their TikTok accounts should understand and comply with TikTok’s updated guidelines.
The new Community Guidelines was implemented on 21 April 2023.
- Due to the potential US ban, TikTok updated its Community Guidelines, and they focused on synthetic media (AI), tribe protection, and civic and election integrity protection.
- Brands and businesses should understand and comply with the updated Community Guideline, as they might risk their accounts.
- The changes took effect on 21 April 2023.
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