TikTok Can Now Detect ‘Borderline’ Content to Help Keep Young Eyes Safe
TikTok says that it is working on multiple ways to better enforce its policies regarding nudity, sensual content, and other content not suitable for all audiences, specifically for “borderline” content that has been more challenging to identify.
In a blog published to its website, TikTok says that it has stated policies regarding some content — such as implied nudity or “sensual” content — that keeps it off of For You feeds that are eligible for recommendation. And while it says that its technology is very good at detecting overt nudity, some of what it calls “borderline” cases are more challenging to identify and as such the company is iterating on multiple approaches to enforce its policies in these cases.
The social media company says that it plans to first innovate on its “Content Levels” system. First rolled out in 2022, the Content Levels system is designed to prevent certain content with more mature or “complex themes” (which it specifies includes profanity, innuendo, or sexually suggestive content) from reaching audiences between the ages of 13 and 17.
Next, TikTok plans to invest further into automation. The company says that it has been iterating on its machine learning models to improve their consistency and accuracy at detecting sexually explicit, suggestive, or borderline content and going forward TikTok aims to be able to quickly identify and remove violating content from the platform and prevent borderline content from being recommended or searchable by teen accounts.
“We’re making progress to reduce the prevalence of borderline or suggestive content recommendations overall, and are now launching the next iteration of our borderline suggestive model which we expect to improve detection of such content, therefore creating a more appropriate and comfortable experience for teen account holders,” the company says.
TikTok is also partnering with StopNCII.org, joining with both Bumble and Meta to bolster efforts to stop the spread of “non-consensual intimate imagery.” TikTok also says that it wants its creators to have more direct control over target audiences, and says that as part of that it added the ability to restrict content to accounts over 18 years of age in LIVE earlier this year.
“Our goal has always been to make sure our community, especially teens on our platform, have a safe, positive and joyful experience when they come to TikTok,” the company says.
TikTok may have more to contend with this year than just the safety of its users, as pressure continues to mount to ban the app in the United States due to concerns that it is supplying the Chinese government with data on users. The United States congress voted to ban the app on government devices, and India already banned the app in the country last year.
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