TikTok app

TikTok’s algorithm is failing to provide a safe and positive experience for its users and for society

TikTok is a popular social media app that allows users to create and share short videos. But, it has faced some controversies regarding its algorithm, design, and data protection.

Tiktok has issues

The company was fined $368 million in Europe for failing to protect children’s data. The Irish Data Protection Commission, which oversees TikTok’s activities in the European Union, said that the company had violated the bloc’s signature privacy law. 

An investigation by the DPC found that in the latter half of 2020, TikTok’s default settings didn’t do enough to protect children’s accounts.

Anti-social app

TikTok drove online ultra online ‘frenzies’ that encouraged anti-social behaviour to spill over into the real world, a BBC Three investigation revealed.

Ex-employees said that the issue was not being tackled for fear of slowing the growth of the app’s business. These ‘frenzies’ were evidenced by interviews with former staffers, app users and BBC analysis of wider social media data. They included false murder accusations, interference in police investigations, school vandalism, and riots.

TikTok’s algorithm is reportedly failing to provide a safe and positive experience for its users and for society

Anti-social algorithm

The algorithm and design means people are seeing videos which they wouldn’t normally be recommended – which, in turn, incentivise them to do unusual things in their own videos on the platform. 

Former employees likened these frenzies to ‘wildfires’ and described them as ‘dangerous’, especially as the app’s audience can be young and impressionable.

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