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

QUIZ: A celebration of apples

September is the start of the apple harvest

Smoky skies clearing throughout B.C. Interior

Environment Canada expects “widespread” improvement for all affected areas by Sunday

Penticton wildfire crew goes from Christie Mountain to Cold Springs

The team at Eagle Ridge Consulting is helping fight fires across the border

Interior Health reports three additional COVID-19 cases in region

The number of cases in the region since the beginning of the pandemic are now at 492

‘This is a very difficult sentencing’; Judge delays Kiera Bourque manslaughter trial to next week

The courts heard Friday that Bourque “did not intend to cause harm” but that her actions were “reckless”

3 new deaths due to COVID-19 in B.C., 139 new cases

B.C. confirms 40 ‘historic cases,’ as well

Preparations underway for pandemic election in Saskatchewan and maybe B.C.

Administrators in B.C. and around the country are also looking to expand voting by mail during the pandemic

Nearly 20 per cent of COVID-19 infections among health-care workers by late July

WHO acknowledged the possibility that COVID-19 might be spread in the air under certain conditions

Stranger in truck grabs boy walking home from school in Kelowna

The 11-year-old boy escaped the incident, RCMP are investigating

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87

The court’s second female justice, died Friday at her home in Washington

Emaciated grizzly found dead on central B.C. coast as low salmon count sparks concern

Grizzly was found on Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw territory in Smith Inlet, 60K north of Port Hardy

VIDEO: B.C. to launch mouth-rinse COVID-19 test for kids

Test involves swishing and gargling saline in mouth and no deep-nasal swab

Young Canadians have curtailed vaping during pandemic, survey finds

The survey funded by Heart & Stroke also found the decrease in vaping frequency is most notable in British Columbia and Ontario

B.C. teachers file Labour Relations Board application over COVID-19 classroom concerns

The application comes as B.C.’s second week of the new school year comes to a close

Most Read