TikTok pledges to free itself of hate

February 1, 2022 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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Social Media giant TikTok has pledged to free its platform of hatred and to introduce education to explain the Holocaust to new generations.

TikTok took the opportunity to launch its new education approach on International Holocaust Remembrance  Day.

A spokesperson for TikTok explained: “Each of us should reflect on the Holocaust and other genocides, and to educate ourselves to help prevent future atrocities.

Education is one of the most powerful ways to counter hate. So we are partnering with the World Jewish Congress (WJC) and UNESCO to provide our global community with easy access to educational resources all year round so they can learn more about the Holocaust, the Jewish community and antisemitism.

Starting today, if people search for a term related to the Holocaust – such as ‘Holocaust victims’ or ‘Holocaust survivor’ – they will see a banner at the top of the search results page that prompts them to visit aboutholocaust.org to learn more. For community members who search for terms related to the Holocaust that violate our Community Guidelines, we’ll continue to block search results and additionally display this banner to direct them to the WJC and UNESCO educational resources.

When community members look up hashtags like #HolocaustSurvivor or #HolocaustRemembrance, they’ll now see a public service announcement directing them to the same website.

Finally, in the coming months, we will introduce a permanent banner at the bottom of videos discussing the Holocaust, which will give our community another easy access point for authoritative information, for example, if they come across Holocaust-related content on their For You feed.

TikTok made commitments last year at the Malmö International Forum on Holocaust Remembrance and Combating Antisemitism to pledge to put its full strength behind keeping TikTok a place that is free of hate and to harness the power of our platform to educate our community.

President of The World Jewish Congress Ronald S. Lauder commented: “We are proud to partner with UNESCO and TikTok in making factual and reliable information about the Holocaust available to the TikTok community. TikTok allows us to reach a new audience, some of whom may be uninformed about the horrors of the Holocaust and therefore be potentially susceptible to misinformation. We welcome the platform taking responsibility and leveraging its reach to stop the spread of antisemitism and Holocaust denial.”

Audrey Azoulay, the Director-General, UNESCO, added: “Denying, distorting or trivialising the true facts of the Holocaust is a pernicious form of contemporary antisemitism. We welcome TikTok’s commitment to act with UNESCO and the WJC. All online platforms must take responsibility for the spread of hate speech by promoting reliable sources of information.”

TikTok stated: “Hateful behaviour of any kind is incompatible with our values and the inclusive environment we are building at TikTok. We condemn antisemitism in all its forms and deploy a combination of technologies and moderation teams to remove antisemitic content and accounts from our platform, including Holocaust denial or any other form of hate speech directed at the Jewish community.”

Dr Andre Oboler, CEO of the Online Hate Prevention Institute commented: “TikTok’s recent changes are a swift follow through to their commitments at the Malmo Forum last October.

The engagement I saw from them in Malmo deserves praise and this latest action shows it was more than just words.

The Online Hate Prevention Institute welcomes this move which mirrors the response of other platforms and magnifies the existing work of UNESCO, the World Jewish Congress and IHRA. We also welcome TikTok’s commitment to remove Holocaust denial and distortion. A policy against Holocaust denial is only the first step. As we have seen with other platfroms, it takes collaboration to find and remove the Holocaust denial that slips through the cracks of automated detection.

We hope to soon be helping TikTok remove Holocaust denial, as we recently did with Facebook on Holocaust Memorial Day.”

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