TikTok logoSource: TikTok

What you need to know

  • The CEO of TikTok is proposing a coalition to protect social media users from harmful content.
  • Vanessa Pappas has written to nine major heads of social media and content companies.
  • She is calling for a system to help platforms quickly notify each other of harmful content like graphic violence and suicide.

The CEO of TikTok, Vanessa Pappas, has written to nine heads of social and content platforms seeking to form a coalition to protect against harmful content.

In a press release today the company stated:

Each individual effort by a platform to safeguard its users would be made more effective through a formal, collaborative approach to early identification and notification amongst companies.

Such collaboration is already happening when it comes to certain content most people agree are dangerous or harmful, such as child sexual abuse material (CSAM). But there's a critical need to work together to protect people from extremely violent, graphic content, including suicide.

To that end, yesterday TikTok's interim head, Vanessa Pappas, sent a letter to the heads of nine social and content platforms proposing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that would encourage companies to warn one another of such violent, graphic content on their own platforms.

TikTok is proposing the creation of a "hashbank" for violent and graphic content to significantly reduce the change that people see violent and graphic content, enduring emotional harm in the process.

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In a letter sent to company leaders Pappas stated:

However, we believe each of our individual efforts to safeguard our own users and the collective community would be boosted significantly through a formal, collaborative approach to early identification and notification amongst industry participants of extremely violent, graphic content, including suicide.

To this end, we would like to propose the cooperative development of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that will allow us to quickly notify one another of such content.

TikTok is likely to be sold in the coming weeks, with reports that ByteDance has reached an agreement with Oracle and Walmart, however, the deal is fragile given president Trump's insistence on U.S. control of the app.