TikTok took action Thursday against growing claims in recent weeks that it has failed to protect Jewish users and has promoted pro-Palestinian content in the United States.
one in statement on its website “Hateful ideologies such as anti-Semitism are not and have never been allowed on our platform,” the company said. The company said it had removed millions of TikTok videos related to hate speech, hateful behavior, harassment and bullying since Hamas’ attack on Israel on October 7.
Many social networks have come under criticism for spreading misinformation and hate speech during the Israel–Hamas war. TikTok’s ownership by Chinese company ByteDance has come under additional scrutiny. While Beijing has presented itself as a neutral broker in the dispute, anti-Semitism and anti-Israel sentiment are spreading on the Chinese internet and state media.
Last week, Jeff Morris Jr., former vice president of dating app Tinder, claimed that a pro-Palestinian hashtag on TikTok garnered three billion views, while a pro-Israel hashtag garnered a few hundred million views. His post, published on “The information war was being lost.”
Republican lawmakers like Florida Senator Marco Rubio have done so jumped on Such concerns. In a post on Twitter on Wednesday, Mr. Rubio said, “TikTok is a tool that China used to spread propaganda among Americans, now it is being used to demonize Hamas terrorism.”
But Mr Morris’ post appeared to reference several years of hashtag ideas. The company appears to have cited Mr Morris’ post on Thursday criticizing its “unfounded analysis of TikTok hashtag data around the conflict”. TikTok said the hashtag #standwithisrael has received 46.3 million views in the United States since October 7, while #standwithpalestine has received 29.4 million views. Mr. Morris did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
A group of Jewish TikTok creators and celebrities who post on the platform, including comedian Amy Schumer and actors Michael Rapaport and Debra Messing. wrote an open letter to TikTok said Wednesday it “does very little by not protecting the safety of its Jewish creators and community, and by not monitoring and guiding public discourse to ensure that the platform does not become a permanent hotbed of indiscriminate and offensive anti-Semitism.” Happening.”
The group said it was difficult to filter anti-Semitic comments on TikTok because hostile users replaced letters such as “s” with “$”. She said that upon reporting the death threats, a TikTok moderator said the “I hope you die” comment was acceptable. The letter also said that first-person accounts about atrocities experienced by Israeli citizens were flagged as possibly being by anti-Israel users, and removed, and that Jewish creators about Israel were featured on TikTok’s algorithm. Was accused of diverting attention from the post.
TikTok said it is investing in moderation, including training for teams to stay ahead of new forms of hate speech and behavior, and it is consulting with groups like the Anti-Defamation League.
Yael Eisenstat, vice president of the Anti-Defamation League, said her group has trained TikTok on anti-Semitic content and that its website regularly maintains “the vocabulary of extremism and hate.” Update,
Ms. Eisenstat said she appreciated TikTok’s reach to her group, but added that “it doesn’t absolve them of the responsibility to provide more tools to civil society groups to study what’s actually happening.” Is.” He said the recent outcry over posts on the site suggests TikTok should present data on how it serves videos to civil liberties groups. The company said it has started offering such data to academic researchers and will include other groups in the future.