TikTok joins EU's hate speech code of conduct

Tiktok said it will challenge in court a Trump administration crackdown on the popular Chinese-owned service, which Washington accuses of being a national security threat.
Tiktok said it will challenge in court a Trump administration crackdown on the popular Chinese-owned service, which Washington accuses of being a national security threat.
Chris Delmas / AFP

Video-sharing app TikTok, which is wildly popular among teenagers, has joined the EU's code of conduct against hate speech, the EU said on Tuesday.

Owned by Chinese company Bytedance, TikTok is under fire for not doing enough to curb hate speech and has launched a global effort to show its willingness to better police content.

Last month, TikTok said it had removed more than 380 000 videos in the US this year as part of its mission to "eliminate hate" on the platform.

TikTok is also fighting accusations in the US that it is linked to the Chinese government and faces an order by President Donald Trump to stop running the app there.

Launched in 2016, the EU's code of conduct on hate speech is voluntary and has been signed by Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Microsoft, Instagram, Google+ and Snapchat.

"It's good that TikTok joined the code - a company favoured by young users who are particularly vulnerable to online abuse and illegal hate speech," said EU vice president Vera Jourova.

"Of course, I expect TikTok to adhere not only to the code's principles but also fully respect European law when operating on European soil," she said.

According to the latest data from the EU commission, participating platforms assess 90% of reported content within 24 hours and remove 71% of content considered illegal.

"Our ultimate goal is to eliminate hate on TikTok," said Cormac Keenan, Tiktok's head of trust and safety for Europe.

"We recognise that this may seem an insurmountable challenge as the world is increasingly polarised, but we believe that this shouldn't stop us from trying," he said.

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