TikTok is launching a ‘Transparency Center’ to allow outside experts to review policies.
The move comes as the Chinese-owned social media company faces increased scrutiny from the U.S. government. Last year, both the U.S. Army and Navy issued warnings to their enlisted – don’t install TikTok on government phones. The U.S. government is afraid TikTok could be forced to comply with Chinese state intelligence gathering.
Legislators like Marco Rubio called for U.S. government investigations into TikTok’s censorship.
Now the TikTok transparency center will exist in TikTok’s new Los Angeles office. It will allow outside experts to view the team’s daily operations – including moderation.
TikTok faces heavy criticism for moderating content that mainland China does not like. That includes censoring LGBT, disabled, and fat content creators who have the potential to be bullied. TikTok may also be censoring the Hong Kong protests and other content critical of mainland China.
TikTok says outside experts will be able to see how TikTok handles creator concerns. The company will also explain how its platform content aligns with the company’s guidelines. TikTok U.S. General Manager Vanessa Pappas says she acknowledges the company’s approach is flawed.
“We expect the Transparency Center to operate as a forum where observers will be able to provide meaningful feedback on our practices,” she said.
“We are aware that our systems, policies, and practices are not flawless, which is why we are committed to constant improvement. [TikTok] looks forward to hosting experts from around the world and continuing to find innovative ways to improve our content moderation and data security systems,” Pappas finished.
Despite the early announcement, the TikTok Transparency Center won’t open until May.
TikTok says the early efforts will focus on its moderation guidelines. Later, TikTok hopes to address data privacy and security concerns with the new wing of its LA office. That phase will be led by TikTok’s new Chief Information Security Officer, Roland Cloutier. Cloutier will start in his new position next month.