TikTok Removed 81 Million Videos in Q2 2021 — But Fewer Than 0.5% Were Copyright-Related

TikTok transparency report Q2 2021

Photo Credit: May Gauthier

TikTok’s transparency report for Q2 2021 reveals that the platform removed 81 million videos. Here’s the breakdown of what got removed — and why.

That’s for the period between April 1st and June 30th. During that time, TikTok removed approximately 81,518,334 videos in violation of the company’s community guidelines or terms of service. TikTok says that number represents less than 1% of the total videos posted. That means more than 8.1 billion videos were posted to TikTok in that three-month time period. TikTok averages around 90 million videos uploaded each day at that rate.

TikTok is taking extra steps to crackdown on content that violates its standards for minors on the platform. That includes removing adult nudity and sexual activities, violent or graphic content, and illegal content and references to drugs. TikTok says its false positive rate for this automated removal process is around 5%. Around 4.6 million of the 81 million removed videos on TikTok were reinstated.

In that mix, it looks like copyright-related concerns aren’t topping the list — not by a long shot. That either indicates that copyright infringement isn’t a big problem on the platform, or that TikTok simply isn’t cracking down on IP-related infractions.

The most common reason (41.3%) cited by TikTok for removing video content was a violation of minor safety guidelines.

Less than 0.8% of removals were for integrity and authenticity reasons, which covers copyright violations on the platform. A rough estimate puts the number of copyright-related takedowns at fewer than 0.5% (and that’s a generous estimate).

TikTok says it also removed close to 30,000 videos for spreading fake information about COVID-19 vaccines. 83% of those videos were removed before they were reported by users.

TikTok says it remains committed to providing a safe platform for users online. That comes after heavy scrutiny around TikTok’s moderation practices over the last two years. Last year Digital Music News reported on leaked TikTok moderator guidelines that told moderators to hide content from poor, ugly, disabled, and LGBT people. TikTok tried to backpedal and claim that those guidelines were to prevent bullying on the platform, rather than suppression.

TikTok was also caught accessing users’ clipboards to read text saved there. TikTok says this was to prevent possible spamming, but this clearly constitutes an invasion of privacy.

TikTok’s moderation policies also amount to enforcing Chinese foreign policy overseas. That includes removing content that mentions Taiwan or the Tiananmen Square massacre. Part of the reason these transparency reports began is because of the controversy around TikTok’s moderation policies.

8 Responses

  1. John Matarazzo

    Were going to a totalitarian state step by little step. We’ll be there soon enough

    • Ralph

      Nice try to skew this politically. Not true. Get a grip, Johnny.

      • TruthToPower

        While forced labor is a serious global problem that must be addressed around the world, its use against the Uyghurs and other Turkic and Muslim-majority peoples in Xinjiang has been particularly reprehensible. The United States must continue taking robust action to address these horrific human rights abuses, and the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act takes important steps to combat forced labor in Xinjiang. We ask your support for swift passage of S. 3471 in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

        Sincerely,

        Humanity United Action

        Alliance to End Slavery & Trafficking

        Coalition of Immokalee Workers

        Human Trafficking Legal Center

        T’ruah

        The McCain Institute for International Leadership

  2. TruthToPower

    Its the Chinese Communist Party! They own the app! WTF is wrong with the American government- India knew what was up, they closed it down, this is a surlavence tool!

    “Man is Food” as they enter the spaceship- Guess Rd knew what was up!

    • Jasmine Reddington

      Just try banning everything from China. It’s not gonna happen. Americans, as much as they love hating on China and everything to do with China, consumer physical and digital goods produced over there in mass quantities. It’s not just TikTok, but many other apps from China, Russia and countries we deem as predatory to the US

      • TruthToPower

        While forced labor is a serious global problem that must be addressed around the world, its use against the Uyghurs and other Turkic and Muslim-majority peoples in Xinjiang has been particularly reprehensible. The United States must continue taking robust action to address these horrific human rights abuses, and the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act takes important steps to combat forced labor in Xinjiang. We ask your support for swift passage of S. 3471 in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

        Sincerely,

        Humanity United Action

        Alliance to End Slavery & Trafficking

        Coalition of Immokalee Workers

        Human Trafficking Legal Center

        T’ruah

        The McCain Institute for International Leadership

    • TruthToPower

      Gross abuse of the 1st Amendment in America!
      Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.