TikTok unveils new guidelines amid mounting global pressure on security and misinformation

As TikTok faces increasing scrutiny from Western nations over cybersecurity and misinformation concerns, the Chinese-owned video-sharing app has introduced revised rules and content standards. This comes as CEO Shou Zi Chew prepares to address U.S. lawmakers regarding the company’s privacy, data security measures, and ties to the Chinese government.

Chew is slated to appear before the U.S. Congress on Thursday, amid discussions on potentially banning TikTok in the United States. The CEO has highlighted the importance of the hearing for the company, as over 150 million Americans actively use the app.

TikTok has been criticized in the U.S., Europe, and Asia-Pacific regions, with some governments banning the app on official devices due to concerns about cybersecurity, data privacy, and the potential spread of pro-Beijing narratives and misinformation. However, no evidence has emerged to suggest that TikTok has shared user data with the Chinese government.

In response to these concerns, the Norwegian and Dutch governments have cautioned against installing apps like TikTok on government-issued phones, citing security and intelligence risks.

To address these issues, TikTok has introduced an updated set of community guidelines, featuring eight principles aimed at guiding content moderation decisions. Julie de Bailliencourt, TikTok’s global head of product policy, explained that these principles are grounded in human rights commitments and align with international legal frameworks.

The updated guidelines, which will take effect on April 21, provide more details on the app’s restrictions on deepfakes, synthetic media created by artificial intelligence. The new policy requires all deepfakes or manipulated content to be clearly labeled as fake or altered. The guidelines also prohibit deepfakes involving private individuals and young people, while allowing deepfakes of public figures in specific contexts, such as artistic or educational content, but not for political or commercial endorsements.

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