Social video platform TikTok has written to the heads of major platforms including Facebook and Twitter, asking them to regulate content causing distress, after clips of a man committing suicide on Facebook Live were circulated widely on TikTok in recent weeks.
Appearing before a U.K. Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) subcommittee on online harms and disinformation on Tuesday, Theo Bertram, TikTok’s director for government relations and public policy for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, said the organization had written on Monday to the CEOs of Facebook, Instagram, Google, YouTube, Twitter, Twitch, Snapchat, Pinterest and Reddit. TikTok is proposing that in the same way that these companies already work together in matters of child sexual abuse and terrorist-related content,
“We should now establish a partnership in dealing with this kind of content,” Bertram said. “We know we have to do better and our hearts go out to the victims in this case, but we do believe we can do even better in the future.”
When asked by the subcommittee whether TikTok had a discussion with Facebook when the issue first came to light, Bertram said, “Not as much as we will on the new footing. I think that will be better for everyone. I think we all need to work together much more.”
Bertram declined to comment on the Oracle and Walmart deal with China’s ByteDance to create a new U.S.-based company, TikTok Global, on the grounds that it was an ongoing commercial transaction. President Trump, who is forcing ByteDance to divest TikTok’s U.S. operations to majority American owners or face an outright ban of the app, said on Saturday that he provisionally approved the pact. But the deal’s consummation is uncertain, with Oracle and ByteDance spinning different explanations of TikTok Global’s ownership structure.
Given TikTok’s popularity among young teens, the DCMS subcommittee will focus on how the company protects the data and privacy of children online, wider data policy, the use of algorithms and its platform design. It will also consider allegations of political censorship. This was the ByteDance-owned company’s first appearance before the subcommittee.
The social media platform has 3.7 million active users in the U.K.