Chinese social media app TikTok has introduced a safety feature as part of its continuing efforts to sanitise its content ecosystem. The new "Filter Comments" feature will allow users to choose up to 30 words they wish to block in the comments section. Users can modify the block word list as they see fit, TikTok said in a statement.
The move is in keeping with TikTok India's #SafeHumSafeInternet and #BetterMeBetterInternet campaigns launched on February 24.
Last month, politicians from the Tamil Nadu state called for a ban on TikTok for promoting ‘vulgar culture’. The app has, however, taken cognizance of the matter and put out an educational video on user safety.
TikTok has a number of measures in place to protect against misuse, including restricted viewing mode, filters, and in-app reporting, among others. As part of its efforts, TikTok has put in place protective measures by combining content moderation technology with a robust human moderation team. This team, which is based in over 20 countries and regions, now covers 36 languages, an increase of 400% in terms of language support from one year ago.
The app also allows you to make a specific video private and a setting that controls comments on your videos. TikTok is also facing heat from the right-wing organisations in India owing to its Chinese DNA.
TikTok has over 54 million monthly active users in India. The short-form video app is immensely popular among teens world over. ByteDance, a Beijing-based tech company valued at USD 75 billion, launched TikTok in 2016. In China, the app is known as Douyin.
In 2017, TikTok acquired US-based lipsyncing app Musical.ly and merged it with its app. TikTok is the first Chinese social media app to make it big in English-speaking countries.
The app faced a lot of music last month. ByteDance came to a settlement with US’ Federal Trade Commission related to musical.ly Inc., over the spread of pornographic content. As part of the agreement, the app split users into age-appropriate TikTok environments, in line with the FTC guidance for mixed audience apps. The new environment does not permit the sharing of personal information, and puts extensive limitations on content and user interaction.
In India, TikTok has partnered with the Cyber Peace Foundation to promote online safety. “We are happy to be collaborating with TikTok and the rest of its stakeholders to work on online safety. The need is not only for awareness but also being proactive to ensure that every netizen is secure in the Cyberspace,” said Purnendu Singh, director, strategy and operations, Cyber Peace Foundation.