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

“We have to make a call out to address this now so our people don’t have to feel fearful,” said Tribal Chief Mina Holmes. (Carrier Sekani Tribal Council Facebook photo)
Carrier Sekani Tribal Council seeks Indigenous-led task force in northern B.C. hospitals

Request made in an open letter to federal minister Carolyn Bennett

NDP headquarters on election night, Oct. 24, 2020. (Katya Slepian/Black Press Media)
ELECTION 2020: Live blog from B.C. party headquarters

BC NDP projected to win majority government – but celebrations will look different this election

B.C. Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau outlines her party's climate action platform at Nanaimo's Vancouver Island Conference Centre earlier this month. (News Bulletin file photo)
Green leader Furstenau declared victor in her home riding on Vancouver Island

Cowichan Valley voters elect freshly minted party leader for her second term

Submitted
BC VOTES 2020: John Rustad re-elected in Nechako Lakes riding

The result is based on preliminary vote count and the final results will be available after Nov.6

John Horgan has been re-elected the MLA for Langford-Juan de Fuca. (File-Black Press)
Horgan trounces challengers to be re-elected in his Vancouver Island riding

MLA has represented constituency of Langford-Juan de Fuca and its predecessors since 2005

FILE – Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry provides the latest update on the COVID-19 pandemic in the province during a press conference in the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Thursday, October 22, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. shatters COVID-19 records with 817 weekend cases; masks now expected indoors

Three people have died over the past three reporting periods

The ‘new normal’ for hockey parents in Chilliwack and elsewhere in B.C., watching their kids from outside of the arena due to COVID-19 protocols. (Submitted photo)
Chilliwack hockey parents petition to be let back in the arena

Refused access due to pandemic protocols, parents are now applying pressure to loosen the rules

Aaliyah Rosa. File photo
Crown says murder of B.C. girl, 7, by accused mother was planned, deliberate

The trial of KerryAnn Lewis began Monday in New Westminster

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Commissioner Austin Cullen listens to introductions before opening statements at the Cullen Commission of Inquiry into Money Laundering in British Columbia, in Vancouver, on February 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. money laundering inquiry hears of $800,000 and more in bags, luggage, backpacks

The lottery corporation has said it consistently reported suspicious transactions to Fintrac

Some of the characters in the League of Legends video game. (Photo: na.leagueoflegends.com)
E-sports trial at B.C. high schools to start with ‘League of Legends’ team game

For fall launch, Vancouver’s GameSeta company partners with BC School Sports

Most Read