Friday, June 21, 2024

Fighting misinformation requires multi-sectoral approach, says TikTok

Every once in a while, users on social media platforms publish content that violate community guidelines. For TikTok, according to the platform’s head of public policy for the Philippines Kristoffer Rada, users are unaware that there is a lot happening on the backend courtesy of its ‘Trust and Safety’ that ensures TikTok is safeguarded from bad actors.

TikTok Philippines head of Public Policy Kristoffer Rada

During a forum hosted by TikTok Philippines under its digital literacy initiative, Rada said that the platform’s content moderation team is able to remove content that do not adhere to community guidelines 95% of the time before a user is able to view or share them.

“We take down harmful misinformation that causes real-world harm, or, possible even damage to trust in institutions of the markets we operate in. It’s equally as important for all of us to equip ourselves with digital literacy tools, understand the lay of the land of online platforms so that when fake news and bad actors come our way, we are equipped with that basic protection (akin to vaccinations acting as a preventative barrier against infections),” he explained.

Since most social media platforms have different guidelines on what constitutes misinformation, Rada advised that users and content creators should take a closer look at the minute differences. Beyond individuals, TikTok also removes harmful content that targets communities and civic institutions – this extends to elections, the government, and even scientific bodies.

“The way people on platforms now process information have changed. In the past, it was what they call the ‘Age of Information’ where it was just one-way, people were passive recipients of information. Now, people are actively creating content as well…it is a very participative process,” Rada remarked.

Beyond engaging a wider audience, Rada emphasized the importance of effectively communicate the correct information among today’s content creators. On the other side of the equation, he added that TikTok has a responsibility in properly policing its platform, alongside educational and media institutions who have a similar responsibility as well in delivering credible information.

“We have to work together. Fake news and misinformation is truly a multi-sectoral problem that requires a multi-sectoral solution. That is why we are working with people such as the local media to try and look for ways in which we can improve our methods and strategically think about how to fight this problem,” he concluded.

Under the ‘Trust and Safety’ tenet of TikTok’s commitment against malicious content, the company employs a dedicated team that performs content moderation and is partnered with global news agency Agence France-Presse (AFP) who verifies harmful misinformation which is then deleted from the platform.

Meanwhile, to promote credible sources of information in the TikTok platform, the company bans political content and advertising – both direct paid ads or commissioned content via content creators, and applies misuse prevention policies to accounts that are classified as a Government, Politician, and Political Party Account (GPPPA).

Finally, in its mission to equip users and content creators with the proper tools to fight misinformation, TikTok has setup a one-stop online safety resource portal called ‘Digital Literacy Hub’ that promotes cyber wellness and related topics, as well as quick assessment tools that help with the verification of online content.

Some of TikTok’s multisectoral initiatives, on the other hand, include a masterclass series launched in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Philippine Election Guide 2022 launched with the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) and a major local TV network, the existing partnership with AFP, and ongoing tie-ups with Protection Group International (PGI) surrounding misinformation initiatives.


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