TikTok 'in the process' of removing harmful content
Dubai - A TikTok spokesperson said the firm is investigating the challenge that has been trending on its app among UAE youth.
Social media firm TikTok has announced that it is "in the process" of removing harmful content from its app, particularly videos of a challenge that went viral among UAE youth, which requires participants to strangle themselves or their peers.
In a statement to Khaleej Times, a TikTok spokesperson said the firm is investigating the challenge that has been trending on its app among UAE youth.
Recently, a UAE-based mother reported a harrowing story of how her son came home with a bruised neck. He was participating in the 'pass-out challenge', where youngsters strangle themselves or each other in different ways to see how long they can last.
Gita Ghaemmaghami, regional communications director - Mena TikTok, said: "TikTok is committed to maintaining a safe and positive in-app environment for our users and in no way endorses or promotes videos that violate our community guidelines. Irresponsible trends that encourage dangerous behaviour are regrettably pervasive across the Internet, but TikTok does not endorse or tolerate content that features dangerous subject matter.
"We are actively investigating this and we are in the process of removing related harmful content. This is a complex, industry-wide challenge and we are consistently evaluating and strengthening our safety measures in our ongoing commitment to safeguard the well-being of our community."
Parents in the UAE are welcoming the move and said the firm should be proactive when it comes to removing harmful content available on the app.
Egyptian mum of two teens, Noura AbuBaker, said: "The content shouldn't be there for adults or kids. Why would anyone want to watch other people strangling themselves or others. It's a bad message for all users. All social media companies need to make sure this content does not get uploaded on the apps in the first place."
AbuBaker's teens are very active on social media, but she keeps a tab on their online activities. "We can't take away their devices or ban them from using social media. It's very easy access these days, so parents need to stay more involved in what the kids are doing online," she said.
Pakistani mother of three children, Fatima Ali, said she allows her 13-year-old daughter to use TikTok, however, only on the condition that she asks for permission before participating in any social media challenges.
"There are challenges that are innocent and fun, and then there are crazy ones like this recent pass-out challenge that really worries us parents," Ali said.
"We have to make sure we keep the trust of our children so that they feel comfortable in telling us about what they are up to on social media. But if these companies can keep it safe for everyone, then it will take some of our stress away."
Ghaemmaghami has insisted that users see their community guidelines for usage of the app, which are available in English at https://support.tiktok.com/en/privacy-safety/community-policy-en and the Arabic one - https://support.tiktok.com/ar/privacy-safety/community-policy-ar