TikTok has announced it is updating its community guidelines to ban content that promotes disordered eating.
The app already removes content explicitly promoting eating disorders, but TikTok's Head of Trust and Safety, Cormac Keenan, said it is now "broadening [its] approach" in this area.
"We're making this change, in consultation with eating disorders experts, researchers and physicians, as we understand that people can struggle with unhealthy eating patterns and behaviour without having an eating disorder diagnosis," Keenan said. "Our aim is to acknowledge more symptoms, such as overexercise or short-term fasting, that are frequently under-recognised signs of a potential problem."
TikTok has previously faced criticism for failing to remove content that promotes disordered eating. In October 2021, The Guardian reported that at least two dozen problematic hashtags including #skinnycheck and #sizeO were searchable on the app.
As part of its community guidelines update, TikTok has also announced that it is "adding clarity on the types of hateful ideologies" it prohibits. The guidelines now make it absolutely clear that misogyny, transphobic deadnaming and misgendering, and content that supports or promotes conversion therapy are all banned.
"Though these ideologies have long been prohibited on TikTok, we've heard from creators and civil society organisations that it's important to be explicit in our community guidelines," Keenan said. "On top of this, we hope our recent feature enabling people to add their pronouns will encourage respectful and inclusive dialogue on our platform."
"When anti-transgender actions like misgendering or deadnaming, or the promotion of so-called ‘conversion therapy,’ occur on platforms like TikTok, they create an unsafe environment for LGBTQ people online and too often lead to real world harm," GLAAD's CEO and President, Sarah Kate Ellis, said in response to the update.
"TikTok’s move to expressly prohibit this harmful content in its community guidelines and to adopt recommendations made in GLAAD’s 2021 Social Media Safety Index raises the standard for LGBTQ safety online and sends a message that other platforms which claim to prioritise LGBTQ safety should follow suit with substantive actions like these."