Interrogation done by TikTok on videos promoting anorexia and starvation leads to ban of some search terms

TikTok has recently banned the marketing of products that promote weight loss. Still, Guardian found content on harmful pre-anorexia as it was easily available on the platform. TikTok took action and conducted an investigation to ban some keywords.

TikTok is the most leading platform with almost 700 million users from all over the world. The age group of half of the users is 16 to 24. After being criticized for promoting a diet that leads to disorders, TikTok has introduced new restrictions on weight loss advertising.

Although it was still easy to find harmful accounts that promoted possibly serious eating disorders. TikTok also banned some hashtags that were used to search accounts promoting eating disorders. Some people used variations of common words to search harmful accounts, were also get around by restrictions.

When these found results were presented to TikTok, the platform conducted an interrogation process and told that they had already taken steps to ban dangerous phrases in all niches of search.

As per the report, an account was discovered on which a girl was asking about tips to lose weight preferring both, healthy or unhealthy ways. One more account was seen warning users and telling them to leave if they are not looking for stuff related to starving.

Another one found asking people to adopt a style of eating a low-calorie diet plan when you are not wanting to detox. A type of diet disorder that induces vomiting and wrong use of laxatives and drugs.

TikTok announces that they had removed six accounts that were reported to break the community guidelines by sharing content that encourages eating patterns that are likely to trigger health issues.

Vice-chair of the child and adolescent faculty at the Royal College of Psychiatry, Dr. Jon Goldin expressed his emotions that this news is extremely upsetting. He further asked the platforms to investigate more and also said that strong regulators are required to prohibit such actions.

As said by Ysabel Gerrard, a lecturer in digital media and society at the University of Sheffield, “On TikTok, 30 seconds are required to find an account that promotes eating disorders. If that user follows similar people, their For You page will be filled with content that promotes such prohibited content. This is how TikTok is designed, suggesting people what they want to see.”

On TikTok, For You page, the recommended videos that usually appear are based on your history. Reportedly, people are coming across accounts that post content regarding weight loss, eating disorders, or diets on daily basis.

According to Gerrard, when a first round of pro-eating disorder content was covered by media, the platform took measures to resolve the problem by canceling advertising for fasting apps and weight loss products. However, TikTok must take some other serious actions to keep the platform even safer for young individuals.

A TikTok spokesperson said that “measures had already been taken when such issue was presented to them. Account and content that go against the rules are removed. We are planning to collaborate with experts as content evolves, upgrade our technologies, and re-evaluate our strategy to ensure that we can react to existing and new harmful activities.”

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