TikTok strengthens its security to protect users from dangerous challenges and hoaxes

TikTok REUTERS / Dado Ruvic / Illustration / File Photo (Dado Ruvic /)

TikTok has started a dissemination project based on what is known as the “Questions Voldemort ” (Voldemort Question), a concept that seeks to address topics that are generally not mentioned, such as mental health issues, suicide, and also self-harm, aspects that definitely many users of the application could be going through.

To carry out this project, a survey was conducted of 10,000 participants, including children and adults, from various countries around the world. This initiative aims to analyze the situation of adolescents on TikTok and that at this stage “is a period that is generally associated with greater risk-taking.” Therefore, the idea of ​​TikTok was to analyze how this trend affects young people when they participate in challenges.

TikTok logo.  September 15, 2020. REUTERS / Mike Blake / File Photo
TikTok logo. September 15, 2020. REUTERS / Mike Blake / File Photo (Mike Blake /)

Study results

The study asked teens to describe how risky an online challenge they had recently seen was. In this sense, 48% of respondents thinks challenges are safe and categorizes them as fun or carefree. In the meantime, 32% It mentions that it does carry some risk, but is still safe. On the other hand, 14% consider it risky and dangerous and 3% say online challenges are very dangerous. In the same way, only 0.3% He admitted to having participated in a challenge that he described as very dangerous.

By analyzing the risks of each challenge, users choose to watch videos of other people participating in the challenge, read comments, and talk with friends. Therefore, from TikTok, believe that one of the most important steps in keeping teens safe is giving them advice on how to assess potential risk, and almost 46% of the users requested “more extensive and good information on the risks”.

Dangerous challenges on TikTok.  (photo: Oxigeno.fm)
Dangerous challenges on TikTok. (photo: Oxigeno.fm)

Hoaxes that put TikTok users at risk

In this context, all the deceptions and messages about suicide and self-harm that convey negative misconceptions are particularly relevant. There are many examples of online games that seek to encourage children to participate in movements that lead to self-harm. This type of deception often gets a quick response from parents, teachers, platforms, and the media.

The reality is more complicated because, while spreading the warnings may seem trivial, the study found that the 31% of adolescents exposed to these deceptions had a negative impact and the 63% showed that a negative impact on your mental health.

TikTok Teen, Teacher, Parent, and Guardian Survey.  (photo: Mobility Zone)
TikTok Teen, Teacher, Parent, and Guardian Survey. (photo: Mobility Zone)

Looking at the chart, parents and guardians admit that they do not feel safe talking about this type of cheating and gambling, and more than 56% said they would not mention a hoax involving self-harm unless the minor brings it up first, and on 37% of parents they said it was “difficult to talk about hoaxes that don’t interest them.”

TikTok makes changes to its policy

In doing so, TikTok will continue to suppress and limit the spread of these hoaxes, but they decided to remove the scare warnings because they feared they could cause harm by considering hoaxing.

Alexandra Evans, responsible for Public Security Policies of TikTok, referred to this problem: “TikTok will continue to allow conversations to occur that try to defuse panic and promote accurate information.”

“On the one hand, it is encouraging to see that only 0.3% of adolescents say they have participated in challenges that are very dangerous, but it is important that this is not interpreted as completed work. Having strong policies is an important part of our work to protect the community, and it is essential that these policies are accompanied by strong detection and enforcement measures ”, Evans concluded.

Alexandra Evans, Head of Security at TikTok.  (photo: Evening Standard)
Alexandra Evans, Head of Security at TikTok. (photo: Evening Standard)

In this sense, TikTok has developed technology capable of alerting security teams to a sudden increase in offensive content associated with the tag., and is now being expanded to capture potentially dangerous behavior.


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