FILE - This Feb. 25, 2020, file photo, shows the icon for TikTok in New York. TikTok says it’s working to remove videos of a man apparently taking his own life and banning users that keep trying to spread the clips on the wildly popular social media platform, it was reported on Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2020. (AP Photo/File)

TikTok scrambles to remove suicide video clips, ban users

The video was originally livestreamed on Facebook before being circulated on other platforms

TikTok says it’s working to remove videos of a man apparently taking his own life and banning users that keep trying to spread the clips on the popular social media platform.

It’s the latest example of the ongoing struggle by big tech companies to police their platforms for harmful content amid increasing pressure from regulators.

The video was originally livestreamed on Facebook before being circulated on other platforms including TikTok, the company said.

It didn’t not give more details about the video but news reports say it has been circulating on TikTok since Sunday and shows a man shooting himself with a gun.

“Our systems, together with our moderation teams, have been detecting and blocking these clips for violating our policies against content that displays, praises, glorifies, or promotes suicide,” TikTok said in a statement.

“We are banning accounts that repeatedly try to upload clips,” the company said, adding it appreciated users who reported the content.

TikTok has become very popular with teens largely because of the company’s algorithms, which decide what videos users see without first requiring them to follow other users or specify their preferences. President Donald Trump has ordered Tiktok’s Chinese owner ByteDance to sell its U.S. operations over concerns about cybersecurity and censorship.

Facebook said it removed the original video last month on the day it was streamed and has “used automation technology to remove copies and uploads since that time.”

Social media users have been warning others about the clips, saying some have been edited to include shots of cats to trick viewers. Others are posting screenshot of the video’s beginning to make people aware of what clips to avoid.

TikTok urged people who were struggling with thoughts of suicide or concerned about someone who is to seek support.

It comes days after another social media controversy over a live death. Facebook on Saturday blocked live broadcasts from a chronically ill bed-ridden man who who wanted to show what he expects will be a painful end to his life and had appealed to French President Emmanuel Macron for a medically-assisted death.

Separately on Tuesday, TikTok signed up to the European Union’s Code of Conduct aimed at preventing and countering illegal hate speech online, officials said.

“It’s good that #TikTok, a company favoured by young users who are particularly vulnerable to online abuse & illegal hate speech, joined the Code of Conduct,” EU Commissioner Vera Jourova tweeted. “Of course, I expect TikTok to adhere not only to (the) Code’s principles but also fully respect EU law when operating on EU soil.”

The EU launched the code in 2016, but the problem has only grown since then, with social media companies accused of amplifying divisions, hate and misinformation on their platforms.

Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter and YouTube were the first to sign up to the code when it launched, and Instagram, SnapChat and Dailymotion join last year.

Kelvin Chan, The Associated Press

TikTok

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Campbell River’s September Mountie of the Month is a very good boy

PDS Gator named Mountie of the Month for Sept. 2020

Photographer Eiko Jones delivered the 11th Annual Haig Brown lecture at Tidemark Theatre

Jones also screened his newly completed movie Heartbeat of the River at the event

B.C. salmon farms challenge activists’ demands for site closures

News reporting also unfair, inaccurate and distorted

Float-plane crash near Oyster River leaves pilot injured

The plane crashed shortly after take-off from a private property and had no other passengers on board

Quadra Golf weathers global pandemic with ‘different’ season

General manager and head pro says, despite challenges, the non-profit has done okay this year

Orange Shirt Society launches first textbook on residential school history

Phyllis Webstad and Joan Sorley worked on the 156-page book to help educate students

More sex abuse charges laid against B.C. man who went by ‘Doctor Ray Gaglardi’

Investigators now focussing efforts on alleged victims within the Glad Tidings Church community

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Orange Shirt Day lessons of past in today’s classrooms

Phyllis Webstad, who attended St. Joseph’s Mission Residential School in British Columbia, is credited for creating the movement

Greens’ Furstenau fires at NDP, Liberals on pandemic recovery, sales tax promise

She also criticized the NDP economic recovery plan, arguing it abandons the tourism industry

Wildfire smoke expected to blanket to Vancouver Island again

Conditions expected to worsen Wednesday afternoon

Most Read