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TikTok unveils updated rules, standards ahead of CEO’s congressional testimony

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TikTok on Tuesday unveiled its updated community guidelines, which the company says will focus on improving content moderation on the platform.

Some of the key changes include updating the company’s rules on how it evaluates content created or altered by AI technology and providing more details about the work it does to protect civic and election integrity.

The company also outlined steps it will take to moderate content which include removing violative content and restricting mature content to viewers under the age of 18. 

“These principles guide our decisions about how we moderate content, so that we can strive to be fair in our actions, protect human dignity, and strike a balance between freedom of expression and preventing harm,” said Julie de Bailliencourt, TikTok’s global head of product policy.

The company said that the updated guidelines will take effect on April 21. 

The revised rules and standards come just days before TikTok’s CEO is scheduled to testify before Congress to address some of the national security and privacy concerns that lawmakers have been raising.

FILE – A visitor passes the TikTok exhibition stands at the Gamescom computer gaming fair in Cologne, Germany, Thursday, Aug. 25, 2022. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner, File)

Last week, the Biden administration said it would ban the app in the U.S. if TikTok’s Chinese-based parent company, ByteDance, did not sell its stake to an American company. 

TikTok’s CEO Shou Zi Chew said that divesting wouldn’t solve any security concerns that it hasn’t already addressed. 

“Divestment doesn’t solve the problem, a change in ownership would not impose any new restrictions on data flows or access,” Chew said in a recent interview with The Wall Street Journal. 

During a briefing call on Monday, Republican Congressional aides highlighted talking points they think the company may use to defend itself against criticism regarding the app.

The aides said to expect TikTok’s CEO to focus on “Project Texas,” which is a plan designed by the company to address security concerns by routing U.S. user traffic through Oracle’s domestic cloud servers.

They also expect Chew to argue against banning the app because of its popularity.

“They’ve clearly recognized that they can’t convince the Biden administration, the various national security agencies or Congress that TikTok is not an immediate threat to American interests and national security,” one of the aides said. 

“So instead they’re pivoting to attempt to use the court of public opinion and TikTok’s popularity with younger generations to try to make it politically toxic to ban the app.”

Copyright 2023 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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