TikTok Reveals Nearly 10m Videos From U.S. Were Removed in First Half of 2020—the Second Highest in World

The U.S. market had the second-most amount of content removed from TikTok during the first six months of this year, a new report reveals.

Between January 1 and June 30, the popular short-form video app removed a whopping 104,543,719 videos globally for violating policies. Showing the sheer scale of the app in 2020, that constituted less than one percent of all videos uploaded to TikTok.

India topped the chart in terms of most videos removed in that period, with 37,682,924. It was followed by the U.S. with 9,822,996. The U.K had 2,949,620 removed.

Providing specific insights about U.S. data, TikTok said that 41,820 videos had violated its misinformation and disinformation policies, while a total of 321,786 videos—roughly 3.3 percent of all U.S. content removals—violated its hate speech policies.

In a breakdown of the reasons for all global removals, 30.9 percent had been flagged for "adult nudity and sexual activities while a little over 22 percent were forced from the app to protect "minor safety," according to the transparency report released today.

Additional reasons for removals were illegal activities (19.6 percent), suicide, self-harm, and dangerous acts (13.4 percent), followed by graphic content (8.7 percent).

In the last report, spanning July to December 2019, the U.S. had 4,576,888 removals in total, although the app's userbase has continued to rise through this year.

Addressing the rise, the report said: "TikTok has experienced incredible and continued user growth in 2020... with significantly more content being created by our community than ever before... content removals have increased compared to our last report."

It's been an eventful year for the hugely popular app, which is owned by the Chinese company ByteDance. While the platform enjoyed a surge in usage throughout the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, it was facing down the barrel of an imminent ban in the U.S. by the Trump administration, which accused it of being a risk to Americans' data.

An acquisition deal to appease the president's demands has seemingly resulted in U.S. software giant Oracle and retailer Walmart getting a 20 percent cumulative stake in the firm, although significant questions remain about how ownership will work.

As reported by CNN, Oracle indicated it would store all U.S. data on its cloud systems, but ByteDance has said the deal doesn't include its algorithms or technologies.

In recent weeks, TikTok moderators scrambled to contain a video of a suicide that was spreading among users, seemingly aided by its algorithm that boosts popular content. The app has also been linked to a series of controversial social media trends.

According to the report, more than 96 percent of videos removed were found before any user reported them, with over 90 percent removed before getting any views.

Despite repeatedly being on the cusp of a U.S. ban, user statistics remain strong, based on data from app tracking company SensorTower shared with Newsweek.

The SensorTower data indicates approximately 198 million App Store and Google Play users inside the U.S. have installed TikTok to date. "TikTok has been downloaded by approximately 64 million first-time users in the U.S. so far this year, double the 32 million who had installed it during the same period last year," the analysis read.

In a blog today, TikTok outlined a new proposal for a "global coalition to protect against harmful content" and said that its interim chief, Vanessa Pappas, had sent a letter to the bosses of nine "social and content platforms"—which were not named—urging them to share warnings about policy-breaking content that is spreading on their websites.

TikTok
In this photo illustration the logo of Chinese media app for creating and sharing short videos TikTok, also known as Douyin is displayed on the screen of a smartphone in front of a Chinese flag on September 18, 2020 in Paris, France. Chesnot/Getty
TikTok Reveals Nearly 10m Videos From U.S. Were Removed in First Half of 2020—the Second Highest in World | Tech & Science