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TikTok users to abide by new code of conduct

 TikTok users to abide by new code of conduct (Photo: Getty Images)

TikTok, the short-form video hosting service, has announced new updates to its Community Guidelines that seek to provide users with more clarity on existing rules.

The updates that take effect this May include new features that allow creators to check if their accounts are violating the platform's rules. The rules follow an outcry, including threats to ban it from various countries due to safety concerns and uncontrolled involvement of minors.  

In one of the new rules, a creator who repeatedly posts content that goes against the 'For You' feed standards will have the entire account temporarily ineligible for recommendation in that feed. As a result, that account and content will be harder to find in the platform's search engine.

"A warning strike will be given to creators who violate the Community Guidelines for the first time," says a media statement. "Creators will be notified about which rule they've broken, and they can appeal if they believe a mistake has been made."

TikTok says it has zero tolerance for incitement to violence.

in addition, TikTok will be rolling out an 'Account Check' feature that enables creators to quickly audit their accounts and the last 30 posts enabling them to instantly see whether they are in good standing on the platform.

"The (update) will also include information about whether access to certain features, like comments or direct messaging, has been restricted due to violations. Creators will also be able to see whether their content has been removed for breaking our rules or has been restricted," the report adds.

The platform will also publish a creator code of conduct to be followed, both on and off the platform, by creators involved in TikTok programmes, features, events, and campaigns.

Kenya is a global leader in the use of the platform with the Reuters Institute stating that 54 per cent of Kenyans use TikTok for "diverse purposes, including content creation and sharing videos from their favourite creators".

However, the platform has faced a backlash from the Interior Ministry due to fears that it did not have tight control over sensitive government data. It was also accused of carrying propaganda and sexually explicit content, with the ministry at one point considering a ban.

However, the government has since recommended tighter oversight by the regulatory bodies rather than an outright ban.

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