TikTok wants to foster a community where its users treat each other with kindness and respect. With that goal in mind, the popular video-sharing app on Wednesday introduced new features intended to combat bullying and harassment on the platform.
TikTok’s new Filter All Comments feature will allow users to filter and review every comment submitted for their content to decide whether it appears alongside their video. Users previously had a filter that targeted comments with spam or offensive language and keywords.
The other new feature introduced Wednesday is designed to coach users tempted to post comments that might be hurtful or inappropriate. If a user writes a comment such as “you’re ugly,” a prompt will appear that suggests they reconsider their comment and allows them to edit their comment before it’s posted.
“We know that comments are an important way for community members to connect with creators, and we’ll continue to develop ways to promote respectful discussion,” TikTok said in a statement Wednesday.
Abusive behavior online is far from a new phenomenon. The use of electronic devices to harass, threaten or embarrass another person dates back to the 1990s when interest and access to the internet expanded dramatically. The problem has only been exacerbated with the rise of social media platforms such has Facebook and Twitter, which devote considerable resources to reducing cyberbullying on their sites.
A Pew Research study published in January found that 41% of Americans reported personally experiencing some form of online harassment, with politics, religion, gender and race being key factors in the behavior. The survey also found that 75% of those who said they experienced online abuse indicated their most recent experience was on social media.
To address those ongoing issues, TikTok on Wednesday also announced a partnership with the Cyberbullying Research Center, an organization that provides information on the nature, extent, causes and consequences of cyberbullying. TikTok said it would work with the center to develop initiatives that maintain a supportive and welcoming environment for people on the platform.
“TikTok’s new Filter All Comments feature and Rethink feature are positive steps to promote kindness, and we’re eager to collaborate on further ways to protect against bullying and harassment,” Sameer Hinduja, co-director of the Cyberbullying Research Center, said in a statement.