TikTok is trying to clean up its ‘For You’ recommendations

TikTok is ramping up penalties for creators who post potentially “problematic” content and tightening its rules around what can be recommended in the app. The arrive as TikTok is fighting for its future in the United States and trying to convince lawmakers and regulators that its app is safe for teens.

Under its updated community guidelines, set to take effect in May, TikTok has added of content that’s not eligible to be recommended in the app’s coveted “For You” feed. The list includes some obvious categories, like sexually suggestive or violent content, but it also adds topics that have previously been a source of controversy for the app. For example, the new guidelines bar videos showing “dangerous activity and challenges,” as well as many types of weight loss or dieting content. It also prohibits any clips from users under the age of 16 from appearing in “For You.”

There’s also a lengthy section dedicated to a wide range of misinformation and conspiratorial content. From the guidelines:

-Conspiracy theories that are unfounded and claim that certain events or situations are carried out by covert or powerful groups, such as “the government” or a “secret society”

-Moderate harm health misinformation, such as an unproven recommendation for how to treat a minor illness

-Repurposed media, such as showing a crowd at a music concert and suggesting it is a political protest

-Misrepresenting authoritative sources, such as selectively referencing certain scientific data to support a conclusion that is counter to the findings of the study

-Unverified claims related to an emergency or unfolding event

-Potential high-harm misinformation while it is undergoing a fact-checking review

In addition to the eligibility changes, TikTok says it will also begin to penalize creators who repeatedly disregard this guidance by making their entire account ineligible for recommendations, not just the specific offending posts. The company will also make their account “harder to find” in search.

Additionally, the app is getting a new “account status” feature, which will help users track if they are running afoul of these rules. Much like the feature of the same name , TikTok’s account status will alert creators to strikes on their account and posts that run afoul of the app’s rules. And an “account check” feature will allow users to track if they are currently being blocked from recommendations or otherwise unable to access features like messaging or commenting as a result of breaking the app’s rules.

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