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TikTok pulls thousands of hate speech videos in US

August 21, 2020

The app also pulled down 64,000 comments and 1,300 accounts on similar grounds. The objectionable content reportedly included racial harassment, and denial of slavery and holocaust.

A logo of TikTok is visible
Image: picture-alliance/Ostalb Network

Social media app TikTok removed 380,000 videos and banned around 1,300 accounts in the US for violating its hate speech policies.

The app also said it deleted some 64,000 comments on similar grounds.

"Our goal is to eliminate hate on TikTok. These numbers don't reflect a 100 percent success rate in catching every piece of hateful content or behavior, but they do indicate our commitment to action," said TikTok US head of safety Eric Han in a blog post.

The app, owned by China's ByteDance said that it had acted on content that included race-based harassment, and on content that denied "violent tragedies" such as the Holocaust and slavery.

The short-form video-based app has come under great scrutiny in the US lately, with President Donald Trump saying it poses a threat to US "national security, foreign policy, and economy." There were allegations that the app is providing US users' data to Chinese authorities. TikTok has refused these allegations

Read more: 'Outraged' Chinese want ByteDance to 'put up a fight' over TikTok sale

President Trump has issued executive orders giving ByteDance a deadline to stop running the app in the US, and to divest TikTok. US tech giant Microsoft has expressed interest in purchasing TikTok, to which Trump has given his approval. Tech firm Oracle has also expressed concern in the buy out. 

"TikTok has never provided any US user data to the Chinese government, nor would it do so if asked. Any insinuation to the contrary is unfounded and blatantly false," said the company in a recent post.

Read more: Opinion: The absurdity of TikTok spying allegations

As tensions have risen between the US and China, Trump has also accused TikTok of tracking federal employees and conducting corporate espionage. The US has also ordered for a ban on Chinese messaging app WeChat. 

China has accused the US of  "digital gunboat diplomacy" in the case of TikTok. 

tg/rc (AFP, Reuters)