TikTok’s New Guidelines Say AI-Generated Media Must be Disclosed

Person holds phone with TikTok on it

TikTok has updated its community guidelines so that artificial intelligence (AI) created media must be clearly disclosed on the video-sharing platform.

On Tuesday, TikTok announced updates to its community guidelines, which are the rules and standards that govern how the app deals with videos with harmful content or that may contain misinformation.

Among the changes to TikTok’s community guidelines is an entire section dedicated to “synthetic media,” which is the company’s term for content created or generated by AI technology. There are also additional details about TikTok’s restrictions on deepfakes.

In the updated community guidelines, TikTok explicitly says that all AI-generated deepfakes or manipulated content that show realistic scenes must be clearly labeled to indicate that they are fake or altered in some way.

TikTok explains that while it welcomes the creativity that AI may unlock, the technology can make it more difficult to distinguish between fact and fiction, which can lead to risks. Therefore, any synthetic media on the platform must now be disclosed.

The company says that users can do this through the use of a sticker or caption, such as “synthetic,” “fake,” “not real” or “altered” on videos.

TikTok previously banned deepfakes that misled viewers about real-world events and cause harm. However, the company’s updated guidelines say deepfakes of private figures and young people are also not allowed.

The deepfakes of public figures are allowed in certain contexts, such as for artistic or educational content, but not for political or commercial endorsements.

“We do not allow synthetic media that contains the likeness of any real private figure,” the new community guidelines read.

“While we provide more latitude for public figures, we do not want them to be the subject of abuse, or for people to be misled by political or financial issues.

“We do not allow synthetic media of public figures if the content is used for endorsements or violates any other policy. This includes prohibitions on hate speech, sexual exploitation and serious forms of harassment.”

According to TikTok, the updated community guidelines will come into effect on April 21.

The rehaul comes as TikTok, which now has more than 150 million users in the U.S. faces a national ban.
On Thursday, the Biden administration demanded that Chinese parent company ByteDance sell its stake in TikTok or the app will face a nationwide ban.

TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew is scheduled to appear before congress on March 23 amid growing security concerns.

Image credits: Header photo licensed via Depositphotos.