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.