Whoever ends up running the nascent short-video-sharing site is likely to face a world of difficulty attempting to handle speech on it when the dust eventually settles from the battle over TikTok.
Why it matters: the story of Facebook now tells us how things can go wrong as enthusiastic young people turn loved internet networks into public squares.
- The morass of hate speech, disinformation, privacy breaches, and allegations of racism that too many see in it today took more than a decade for Facebook’s college-student link program to produce.
- TikTok is accelerating down a similar path already.
Driving the News: Tuesday, Vanessa Pappas, president of TikTok, called for a group of social media outlets to organise ways to combat the redistribution of self-harming viral images.
- A video of a man shooting himself circulated rapidly through TikTok earlier this month.
- TikTok ‘s European public policy representative told the U.K. Parliament said Tuesday that the video was “the product of a concerted dark web assault.”
What they’re saying: Back when it looked like the “winner” of the TikTok sweepstakes was going to be Microsoft, founder Bill Gates called the “a poison chalice” social media company.
That’s what Oracle and Walmart plan to drink now, as they attempt to finalise an arrangement to stop President Trump ‘s suspension, transfer TikTok to the U.S. and away from ByteDance, its Chinese owner.
The issue: Many U.S. teenagers use TikTok not only as a light-hearted fun channel, but as a place to explore personal issues, traumas, and politics.
- The more extreme the giant app’s discussion grows, the more possible mischief and “coordinated inauthentic conduct” posed by bad actors by its users.
- TikTok said it pulled down 104,543,719 videos in its most recent compliance report issued Tuesday for breaching its expectations in the first half of 2020. Before being seen by other consumers, 90 percent were deleted.
How it works: In January, TikTok tripled the length of its community guidelines to draw conclusions on the forms of content it will seek to hold away from its young people.
- The suggestion algorithm of TikTok is calibrated to intensify creativity and blast sparks of interest in attention fires, a trait easily exploitable by trolls.
- Whoever runs the app will definitely take measures to tweak the algorithm and ban inappropriate material, but no matter what, they face a constant whac-a-mole challenge.
The characteristics that set the framework of the app apart also lead it to its own collection of issues.