TikTok to be in congressional hotseat over school-trashing content

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The TikTok emblem is pictured exterior the corporate’s U.S. head workplace in Culver Metropolis, California, U.S., September 15, 2020. REUTERS/Mike Blake/File Photograph

WASHINGTON, Oct 25 (Reuters) – TikTok will face questions on content material which will have led kids and youths to steal from or vandalize college loos and different amenities when it and different massive social media firms seem earlier than Congress on Tuesday.

In setting a listening to targeted on TikTok, Alphabet’s YouTube and Snapchat , the Senate Commerce Committee stated the favored apps have “been misused to hurt children and promote damaging acts, akin to vandalism in colleges, lethal viral challenges, bullying, consuming problems, manipulative influencer advertising and marketing, and grooming.”

In his ready testimony, reviewed by Reuters upfront of the listening to, Michael Beckerman, head of public coverage for the Americas at TikTok, stated that the corporate’s moderation groups work to shortly take down any such content material referred to as “devious licks.”

The “devious licks” development on TikTok pushed college students to steal from colleges or vandalize them.

“We lately noticed content material associated to ‘devious licks’ acquire traction on TikTok and different platforms,” Beckerman’s testimony says. “Our moderation groups labored swiftly to take away this content material and redirect hashtags and search

outcomes… to discourage such conduct.”

Beckerman added TikTok “issued specialised steerage to our groups on this violative content material and proactively detected and eliminated content material, together with movies, hashtags, and audio related to the development,” together with searching for spelling variants probably used to elude moderators, he stated.

Snap Inc’s Jennifer Stout, vice chairman of world public coverage, stated in ready testimony that Snapchat will not be designed for content material to go viral and is as an alternative targeted on conversations between associates. Professionally created media content material and sure tales which are spotlighted on the app are all vetted by human moderators.

YouTube’s Leslie Miller, a vice chairman of public affairs, was anticipated to say the corporate strives to encourage wholesome habits, and to make sure that kids see solely age-appropriate materials. The corporate has been accused of being a treasure trove of misinformation on every part from politics to coronavirus vaccinations.

The listening to is the most recent a part of a prolonged inquiry into what lawmakers from each events see as Massive Tech’s more and more damaging affect on competitors, society and kids.

Reporting by Diane Bartz, Sheila Dang and David Shepardson; Modifying by Howard Goller


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