TikTok has launched a new campaign to encourage positivity and inclusion in the app, while also combating online bullying in an effort to foster a more open, encouraging community atmosphere.
As explained by TikTok
“At TikTok, we value the trust of our community and work hard to maintain it by cultivating an inclusive atmosphere. Bullying behavior damages the trust-based nature of the app by harming people’s confidence in themselves. We’re mindful that although in-app interactions may seem harmless to some, the impact of people’s online experiences don’t always disappear when they close the app. This is why we greatly value the stories from our community about their experiences and why we invest in measures to help TikTok remain a place where kindness and compassion thrive.”
TikTok is in a unique position in this regard, given the app’s popularity among younger audiences, and the open, public nature of TikTok clips.
The design of TikTok is focused on broadcasting to a wide audience, and participating in the latest trends, as opposed to sharing among closer friend groups (though you can post privately if you choose). Add to this the fact that around a third of TikTok users are reportedly under the age of 14, and you can see why the app needs to focus on such concerns more so than other social apps.
TikTok is also under various investigations, in various regions, over its content policies, amid concerns that it exposes youngsters to offensive and harmful content. The European Commission recently gave TikTok a month to answer claims that it’s a danger to minors, due to exposure to potentially harmful material, while Italian authorities recently forced the company to remove more than 500,000 accounts amid questions over its age verification policies.
Given these concerns, it makes sense for TikTok to enhance its focus in this respect, and while a new, in-app campaign won’t solve such problems, necessarily, it may help to shift the user focus onto its available reporting and protection tools to help lessen such issues.
The #CreateKindness campaign will include an animated video series, produced by a range of TikTok creators, that aims to tell their real and personal stories via the app.
“By using their distinctive animation styles and voices, and revealing themselves at the end of the videos, these creators drive home an important message: behind every account is a real human being who deserves to be treated with kindness and respect.”
TikTok will showcase the videos on its Discover page throughout the month, while it’s also launched #CreateKindness hashtag challenge, which will encourage users to “share the heart-warming moments and comments that inspire you to spread kindness”.
Given the scope of the concerns here, and the influence that TikTok now has, as it continues to grow and reach even more young users, I’m not sure that an on-platform campaign like this will have a huge impact – but at the same time, it’s can’t hurt, and maybe, by promoting more expression and support, it can contribute to building a more inclusive atmosphere within the app.
But clearly, given the various ongoing investigations, TikTok has some real work to do on this front. Which it is also undertaking, but its improved detection and moderation processes, as well as improved age verification checks, are where it will see real results here.
The #CreateKindness campaign is likely more than PR, but it’s the internal measures that TikTok puts in place that will be the real push in this respect.