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TikTok Will Block Users From For You Feed for ‘Problematic’ Content

TikTok says it’s going to block accounts from appearing in its algorithmically generated For You feed if they repeatedly post content that runs afoul of its updated eligibility standards.

As part of a larger update to its community guidelines, TikTok is updating its For You eligibility standards. “Certain types of content may be included in fine if seen occasionally, but problematic if viewed in clusters,” TikTok says in the update. “This includes content such as dieting, extreme fitness, sexual suggestiveness, sadness (such as statements of hopelessness, or sharing sad quotes), and overgeneralized mental health information (such as a quiz that claims to diagnose someone).”

TikTok will “interrupt repetitive content patterns” for such material “to ensure it is not viewed too often.” And the video app will temporary suspend TikTokers from the For You feed if they repeatedly share content that violates the standards, according to Adam Presser, TikTok’s head of operations and trust and safety.

“We’re introducing a policy to make an entire account temporarily ineligible for recommendation in the For You feed if a creator repeatedly posts content that goes against our For You feed standards,” Presser wrote in a blog post Wednesday. In addition, such accounts will be harder to find in search. TikTok “will notify creators when their account has been restricted in this way, and they will be able to appeal,” he added. Under TikTok’s policies, content created by anyone under 16 years old is ineligible for the For You feed.

The new TikTok community guidelines, including the updated FYF policies, go into effect May 17.

TikTok is rolling a feature called “Account Check” to let creators see at a glance whether they are in good standing vis-a-vis the app’s policies. The Account Check feature will indicate whether a creator’s content has been removed for breaking the rules or has been restricted from the For You feed.

As part of the community guidelines update, TikTok is introducing a “warning strike” when a user violates the community guidelines for the first time. The warning strike does not count toward an account’s strike tally, but any future violations will, according to Presser. He said accounts that violate TikTok’s “zero-tolerance” policies (such as incitement to violence) aren’t eligible for such reminders and will immediately be banned.

In addition, the company on Wednesday released the TikTok Creator Code of Conduct, which will take effect in the coming weeks. Those are standards that “we expect creators involved in TikTok programs, features, events and campaigns to follow on and off-platform,” in addition to its community guidelines and terms of service, Presser wrote. Under those guidelines, TikTok requires creator partners to “conduct themselves on and off TikTok in a manner that will not jeopardize the safety of others or the integrity of our platform, or which may otherwise tarnish, damage, or otherwise negatively affect the reputation or goodwill associated with TikTok, its affiliates, partners, suppliers or customers. If they do, we may decline or revoke their eligibility to join or access our Creator Activities.”

The updates comes as TikTok continues to lobby against proposed U.S. legislation that would effectively ban it in the country. Last month, the House of Representatives passed a bill — by a wide margin — that would outlaw TikTok in the U.S. unless Chinese parent company ByteDance divests its ownership stake (a scenario experts say is unlikely). To date, the Senate has not moved forward to introduce a related measure.

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