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TikTok is adding new features to fight antisemitism

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TikTok is introducing several new permanent features designed to combat Holocaust misinformation and antisemitism, with the announcement coinciding with Holocaust Rememberance Day on Thursday. 

Developed in partnership with the World Jewish Congress (WJC) and UNESCO, TikTok noted the new features are part of the commitment it made to fight antisemitism last year.

“We condemn antisemitism in all its forms and deploy a combination of technologies and moderation teams to remove antisemitic content and accounts from our platform, including Holocaust denial or any other form of hate speech directed at the Jewish community,” wrote TikTok in a blog post

The first new feature is the addition of a banner directing users to a Holocaust information website called AboutHolocaust.org, which is run by WJC and UNESCO. This banner will appear at the top of TikTok’s search results whenever someone looks for “Holocaust victims,” “Holocaust survivor,” or other terms related to the genocide.

Users who tap on related hashtags such as “#HolocaustSurvivor” and “#HolocaustRemembrance” will also be shown a longer public service announcement at the top of the results, which will direct them to AboutHolocaust.org as well.

Finally, TikTok announced that in the coming months it will add a permanent banner to the bottom of videos which use hashtags related to the Holocaust. This banner will also direct people to AboutHolocaust.org, providing the authoritative information source to people who haven’t necessarily looked up Holocaust content, but may instead have stumbled across it on their For You feed.

“TikTok allows us to reach a new audience, some of whom may be uninformed about the horrors of the Holocaust and therefore be potentially susceptible to misinformation,” said WJC president Ronald S. Lauder. “We welcome the platform taking responsibility and leveraging its reach to stop the spread of antisemitism and Holocaust denial.”

Though TikTok is most popularly known for lighthearted dance trends, teenagers also use the video sharing platform to spread knowledge and explore educational topics. However, the results can sometimes be mixed. In 2020, the Auschwitz Memorial in Poland criticized TikTok users for a “hurtful and offensive” trend in which they pretended to be Holocaust victims.

“We cannot allow vilifying, shaming, and attacking the young people who may have done something in the wrong way as the aftermath,” the Memorial said at the time, calling for the distasteful trend to become a teaching opportunity. “Social media is a part of our everyday lives and communication. That is why we could continuously raise awareness that not every social media activity can commemorate the Holocaust.”

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