Suicide Video Prompts a TikTok Move

Company suggests tech 'partnership' could help tamp down on harmful content
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 23, 2020 2:41 PM CDT
Suicide Video Prompts a TikTok Move
In this July 21, 2020 file photo, a man opens social media app 'TikTok' on his cell phone, in Islamabad, Pakistan.   (AP Photo/Anjum Naveed, File)

TikTok says "groups operating on the dark web" engaged in a "coordinated effort" to share a graphic suicide video across its platform. Now it's asking other social media giants for help. The video of a US man shooting himself was live-streamed on Facebook in late August before clips went viral on TikTok early this month, reports the Guardian. The clips, typically beginning with a bearded man sitting at a desk, were viewed by young children, per the BBC. "Through our investigations, we learned that groups operating on the dark web made plans to raid social media platforms including TikTok, in order to spread the video," TikTok Europe’s director of government relations and public policy, Theo Bertram, told a UK parliamentary committee on Tuesday, per CNN. He said TikTok users were "repeatedly attempting to upload the video."

The company's emergency machine-learning services detected the videos, which were cut and edited in different ways, Bertram said. TikTok interim head Vanessa Pappas sent a letter to the CEOs of Facebook, Instagram, Google, YouTube, Twitter, Twitch, Snapchat, Pinterest, and Reddit on Monday, suggesting they inform each other of such content. "In the same way these companies already work together around [child sexual abuse imagery] and terrorist-related content, we should now establish a partnership around dealing with this type of content,” Bertram said, per the Guardian. The outlet notes "such a partnership would have allowed, for instance, Facebook to share technical details of the graphic video so that TikTok could prevent it from being uploaded in the first place." CNN reports TikTok removed 100 million videos in the first half of 2020. (More TikTok stories.)

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