TikTok’s new automated technology is removing helpful content

in September 21st, 2021

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It seems like social media companies are constantly stuck in the middle of what content should or shouldn’t be removed from their platforms. And now, cybersecurity experts whose content helps ethical hackers hone their craft and the general public protect themselves are seeing their good work thrown out with the bad. 

The latest controversy centers around TikTok. The short-form video app automatically scans uploaded videos and identifies potential policy violations for further review. Previously, a member of TikTok’s safety team would assess these detected violations and notify the user. But in July, TikTok excitedly announced their new internal technology that will automatically remove offending content.

And cybersecurity content creators are not happy with the results as their videos are being removed. The majority of these creators upload educational videos demonstrating hacking techniques so viewers can learn to protect themselves. Some say just the inclusion of the word “hack” alone will get content flagged for removal. And while creators are able to appeal and get their videos back, most share how they get banned just about every week — even after a safety team member has said their video will be back up.

For some, it’s déjà vu. Two summers ago, YouTube created a new policy that specifically banned instructional hacking and phishing videos, sparking outrage for wrongly removing legitimate educational videos.

So how do you tell the difference between criminal and ethical hacking? While these companies take on the task of figuring it out, it’s clear the creators themselves are not ready to leave the platforms despite the messy rules. Creators say TikTok’s ability to reach Gen Z and millennials at rapid speeds makes it impossible to leave, unless forced off by too many content “violations.”

🎬 Take Action

If you believe your content has been unfairly blocked by TikTok, follow their support documentation for how to appeal it. In short, when notified that a video has been removed, click the “Submit an appeal” link.

Resource Center

  • Vice (Where we found this story) 8 days old | 5 minutes long
  • Politico Complaints from creators 1 month old  | 4 minutes long
  • Social Media Today TikTok announced automated detection 2 months old | 6 minutes long
  • Forbes YouTube’s controversial banning policy 2 years old | 7 minutes long
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But this video is about protecting against hackers.

You know what they say though — takes one to know one.

Art Credit: ASCII Art Archive

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