The relationship between the major social networks and the protection of the privacy and safety of users is an increasingly urgent issue.
Especially after the storm of the Facebook Papers, the documents that showed merciless flaws in the largest social platform in the world. News filtering problems, little attention to user reports. When not a real active role during electoral campaigns of primary importance or in delicate political contexts.
If the Facebook group ran for cover, changing its strategy and changing its name to Meta, the other social networks were not watching.
Among the most debated issues recently there is certainly the relationship between TikTok and privacy. Due both to the very low average age of users, and to a series of episodes that occurred in recent months (also due to the ease with which the ban on opening an account for children under 13 could be circumvented).
Episodes that had their most tragic moment in the death of a ten-year-old Sicilian girl, who had participated in a challenge last January.
Let’s see how, recently, TikTok has intervened to protect the privacy and security of its users.
TikTok, privacy and security: the Transparency Center updated
In a note that appeared on the official website on Thursday 2 December, TikTok makes it known that it has updated its Transparency Center.
It is a virtual place where users can read the ways in which TikTok acts to protect the privacy and safety of its users. It also explains how content moderation and recommendation work.
But the Transparency and Responsibility Center, which has been open since July 2020 in the US, is also a physical place, whose European headquarters are in Dublin. Visitors can even peruse the source code and learn how TikTok’s algorithm works.
Above all, we read in the note, “the new version of the platform will host the history of all our transparency reports, as well as additional interactive reports currently under development”.
Also on 2 December, the transparency report covering the first half of 2021 was published. It highlights the removal requests received in that period.
Tiktok has been publishing transparency reports since 2019, enriching them from time to time “with the presentation of new and increasingly in-depth data – often with a pioneering approach in our sector – such as, for example, the data regarding the number of accounts removed because they potentially belong to minors under 13, or the number of advertisements rejected because they did not meet our standards “.
The reports, written in 26 languages, are four: The Community Guidelines Enforcement Report, The Inquiries Report, the Authority Takedown Requests Report, and the Intellectual Property Takedown Requests Report. The first is presented every three months, the other three are held every six months.
Government Removal Requests
The latest report on requests for removal by the authorities was released on Thursday 2 December, covering the period from 1 January to 31 June 2021.
We thus discover that in this six-month period, governments around the world made 2,434 requests for content removal or moderation, for violation of community rules. Ten of these requests were made by the Italian authorities.
The leap forward compared to the previous semester is very significant. In the period July-December 2020, global requests for removal by governments were only 412.
Requests for removal for infringement of intellectual property
Also on 2 December, the new report on requests for the removal of content for infringement of intellectual property was also released.
Here it is in the last semester (January-June 2021) the requests were 78,140 in the reference semester. Those with positive results were 16,662, equal to 21.32% of the total.
TikTok explains: “We welcome valid removal requests motivated by copyright and trademark law violations. Upon receiving a valid notification from an intellectual property rights owner regarding a potential infringement, TikTok will promptly remove the content causing the alleged infringement. Any activity that violates the intellectual property rights of others can lead to account suspension or removal. “
Requests for information from law enforcement agencies
Last report updated on December 2 by TikTok, the one on requests for information on users by law enforcement agencies.
1175 legal requests and 715 emergency requests, against – respectively – 765 and 409 of the previous semester.