TikTok has announced further safeguards on its platform to prevent Holocaust denial in conjunction with Unesco and the World Jewish Congress (WJC).
Users looking up keywords on the Holocaust will be directed to trustworthy sites. According to Unesco, 17 percent of Holocaust-related content on the viral video app either rejected or twisted events. TikTok stated that it used its "whole strength" to combat hatred. TikTok stated on Holocaust Memorial Day that when visitors search for a keyword related to the Holocaust, a banner at the top of the results page would now take them to aboutholocaust.org, a WJC, and Unesco website. TikTok also announced that in the future, a permanent banner will appear at the bottom of any video discussing the Holocaust, directing people to reputable sources. "We believe education is vital in combating hatred," TikTok's head of government relations, Elizabeth Kanter, said.
"Hateful conduct is incompatible with TikTok's welcoming environment, and we'll keep working hard to make our platform a hate-free zone while also leveraging TikTok's influence to educate our users."
"TikTok is recognized for its capacity to reach a younger audience, many of whom are unaware of the horrors of the Holocaust and particularly prone to disinformation," WJC President Ronald Lauder said of the new measures.
Some feel that the epidemic has intensified the threat of disinformation.
According to Unesco, since the outbreak of the epidemic, misinformation concerning the Holocaust and anti-Semitic conspiracy theories have "spiked drastically on social media platforms."
Critics argue that the main social and video platforms need to do more.
The Center for Countering Digital Hate said in August that major social media sites had failed to remove more than 80% of anti-Semitic remarks.
Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, and YouTube were all included in the study.
Analysis by Mike Wendling, BBC Trending.
Mike Wendling, BBC Trending analyst
You'll receive auto-complete choices like "Holocaust survivors," "Holocaust Memorial Day," and "Holocaust educational" if you type "Holocaust" into TikTok's search field. There's also "Holocaust is not real" and "Holocaust and vaccinations," the latter referring to a hoax conspiracy theory that Covid-19 injections are killing millions of people.
To be fair, when you search for such terms, you'll primarily find clips debunking misinformation and propagating hatred, rather than spreading it. (TikTok withdrew the search recommendations after being notified by the BBC.)
Interviews with Holocaust survivors and devastating depictions of the slaughter's enormity are among the most popular TikToks on the Holocaust. Many of them are one-of-a-kind and moving, bringing history to life.
According to research released in October by the advocacy group Hope Not Hate, there is a lot of anti-Semitic material on TikTok.
These films have the potential to reach millions of people, even if they aren't as popular as the most popular videos on the video app. However, the idea isn't really about the statistics.
TikTok provides members with a continuous stream of clips that are personally customized to their watching patterns, similar to most other social networks. So, if you view a video on Holocaust denial, the app will most likely offer similar videos, and if you watch them, you'll receive more, and so on.
Not search engines, but social media algorithms have the potential to be the actual generators of hatred and false information.
Although TikTok's decision will be universally regarded as a positive start toward combating Holocaust denial, the major social media firms still have work to do.
"We do not accept anything that rejects the Holocaust or other genocides, and anti-Semitism has no place on our platform," TikTok said in response to worries about algorithms.
"We are continually reinforcing our policies and techniques to counteract hateful activity as we strive to create a secure community environment, and we welcome advice from experts such as Unesco."