TikTok is adapting its community guidelines to make the platform safer. The TikTok Challenges, which have often been criticised in the past, are also to be restricted.
TikTok’s user numbers are rising and rising. It was only in September 2021 that the Chinese short video app broke the milestone of one billion monthly active users.
This week, the platform was able to clear another hurdle in terms of monthly active users. In the USA, TikTok counted 150 million monthly active users for the first time this week. In 2020, the figure was 100 million.
What are TikTok Challenges?
Part of TikTok’s recipe for success are its challenges. These are often small tests of courage or dance challenges. However, in the past, TikTok Challenges have repeatedly led to injuries or even deaths.
Now the platform has announced its intention to adapt its community guidelines. In the process, TikTok Challenges are also to be more restricted. The reason could be the ongoing criticism from Western countries. TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew also has to answer questions before the US Congress this week.
What does TikTok plan to do with the new community guidelines?
With the new community guidelines, TikTok wants to make its platform “a safer place”. The guidelines are “central” when it comes to moderating content.
This allows us to act fairly, protect the human dignity of our users and strike a balance between freedom of expression and avoiding harm.
In the coming months, TikTok will train its moderators to implement the new standards. The new community guidelines will come into effect on 21 April for all users on the platform.
What are the changes for TikTok Challenges?
In the new community guidelines, TikTok explicitly addresses “dangerous actions and challenges”. The platform welcomes the mostly “fun and creative trends”. However, some activities pose “a significant risk of injury”.
The platform has so far mainly removed videos from the platform that could lead to serious injury or death. For less dangerous content, it previously said that it “may not be permissible”.
However, this is to change after the adjustment. In future, TikTok would not allow content that “shows or promotes dangerous actions and challenges”. Videos will then also no longer be permitted for the for-you feed if they can lead to “moderate physical harm”.
This includes dares, games, tricks, the improper use of dangerous tools, the consumption of harmful substances or similar activities that can lead to significant physical harm.
Content that is “highly likely to be imitated and could lead to physical harm” will be age-restricted.
TikTok Challenges: Not always just fun challenges
Unfortunately, it is not only funny dance challenges that circulate on the Chinese short video platform. Challenges like the “Tide Pod Challenge” or the “Pee Your Pants Challenge” have also found their way to TikTok.
But time and again, TikTok challenges are also associated with fatal accidents involving children. For example, the “Benadryl Challenge”, in which users get high with an overdose of the anti-allergy medication. In Oklahoma, a 15-year-old girl died from this challenge.
And there was a similar case in Italy a few years ago. A ten-year-old girl had choked herself unconscious with a belt for the “Blackout Challenge”. Doctors later had to declare her brain dead.
It was only at the beginning of January that TikTok once again came in for criticism from EU Commissioner Thierry Breton precisely because of such content. He criticised the platform for hiding “harmful and sometimes even life-threatening content” behind “seemingly fun and harmless functions”.