TikTok has made it easier to report instances of bullying on the app, with the chance to bulk delete or report comments.
In the newly-rolled out feature, currently available in select markets but entering other users’ apps worldwide, TikTok users can select up to 100 comments to delete or report as inappropriate at one time. Previously, users have had to select individual comments and report or delete them one at a time – potentially increasing the amount of effort and insult they faced.
To access the feature, users can long-press on a comment, or tap the pencil icon to open a range of options. It’s then possible to select up to 100 comments for deletion, blocking or reporting.
“People put their hearts and souls into creating and entertaining on TikTok, and we recognize how discouraging it can feel to receive unkind comments on videos,” says Joshua Goodman, Director of Product, Trust and Safety at TikTok, in a blog post announcing the feature. “So we’re introducing the ability to delete multiple comments at once or report them for potentially violating our Community Guidelines.
“The more we can stamp out bullying behavior, the more welcoming and fun TikTok will be for everyone,” Goodman adds.
TikTok declined to share any data that had helped inform the decision to roll out the new mass reporting and deleting feature, but said the decision was designed to reduce friction for users facing inappropriate comments.
It comes as the app rolls out a range of other protective measures designed to improve the user experience against bullying. It recently published a bullying prevention guide “to help families learn how to identify bullying as well as tools to counter bullying and provide help to bullying victims or bystanders.”
“My initial thought is it’s about bleeping time,” says Eva Fog Noer, a Danish child safety expert, who has liaised with TikTok on previous safety initiatives.
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“Hate and trolling on TikTok has been an issue, as it is with all social media, from day one,” she says. “During the Covid-19 pandemic, it’s escalated fiercely, and many creators have expressed dissatisfaction with how hard it can be to keep ‘a clean house’. Comment sections are notoriously running wild on TikTok, and this will help. The comment filtering options are nice, but people are resourceful and find new ways of saying the same bad things.”
“While it’s encouraging to see TikTok acknowledge their online abuse problem, at present, their improvements and tools always seem to put the onus on the user to protect themselves,” says Dr Carolina Are, who studies social media content moderation at City University, London. “Being able to filter or delete comments in bulk is helpful, but the user still has to go through them.
“All in all, despite introducing new tools, the platform fails to deal with the fact that its moderation and governance often exposes users to overnight fame, overnight swathes of abuse and, importantly, to mass flagging as a form of content curation merely because others don’t like content,” she says.
How to mass-delete TikTok comments
In March, TikTok added a ‘Rethink’ comment feature, which prompts commenters to ‘rethink’ if they want to send a message that contains potentially harmful language.