What are the changes to TikTok’s community guidelines?

4 mins read

TikTok has just changed its community guidelines. You probably got the banner when you opened the app and clicked ok (who reads them anyway) but what do the changes mean for your user experience?

The biggest changes will affect what you see on the For You Page (FYP). The app is working to limit the dangerous and spammy content that appear on the feed.

Unoriginal, low-quality content will not be given a bump to the FYP. This means you’ll be seeing fewer scenes from TV shows or movies, less content that has been visibly reposted from other apps, static images, gifs and anything with a QR code. For many, this is likely a good thing and will filter out a lot of the unwanted videos that pop up.

They are also now reporting any content that poses a real-life threat to law enforcement.

Only videos from users over age 16 will be suggested on the FYP. They are also adding to their definitions of grooming in the guidelines and will be detecting any content that tried to move minors to connect with adults on other apps.

This is a move to protect younger users on the app likely following the ongoing debate about how age-appropriate popular content is.

They are also cracking down on over-sexualised content. That’s any content with “implied nudity, sexualised body parts, or is blatantly erotic or sensual” (e.g, stripteases).

Tobacco products, drinking and alcohol, stunts and dangerous activities will also not appear on the FYP. That means no drink mixing videos (sad face) but also any content that is graphic, violent or harmful won’t be suggested (which is definitely a good thing).

This content will be searchable, it just won’t be suggested to users via their FYP. There is also a public interest factor. Basically, if TikTok thinks that it’s something the public should see then they may put it on the FYP. It’s unclear what types of videos this might include.

The company has widened what they define as “violent extremism” and has laid out how they will remove it from the platform.

The new guidelines also ban a whole swathe of anti-LGBT+ content. This includes misgendering, deadnaming and promoting conversion therapy. The changes were made following pressure by LGBT+ charities like GLAAD.

TikTok is apparently also expanding its automated system so they can catch more harmful content.

All in all, these changes seem pretty positive. The moves they are making to protect young people and LGBT+ communities have been a long time coming and should help make the app more accessible for all.

If you are sad about missing out on thirst traps then you’ll just have to find your fix somewhere else (and maybe Noah Beck will have to get better at dancing now).

The changes to what is getting recommended to users seem like a welcomed move and will hopefully make the content we see even better.

Featured image credit: Pixabay.

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3rd year Journalism student | Film and Television Editor @ Brig Newspaper

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