TikTok looks to ‘promote kindness’ with new pop-up feature

By Mary Katreeb, STAFF WRITER
On March 10, TikTok launched a pop-up feature intended to discourage cyberbullying. The term ‘discourage’ is used because this pop-up feature only serves as a warning message. Since the roll-out of this new feature, whenever a user types a comment deemed ‘unkind’ or ‘inappropriate,’ TikTok will ask them if they are sure they want to post it.

TikTok does not stop the user from posting said message; it just notifies the user that it includes language deemed ‘unkind.’ The qualifications for a message being considered ‘unkind’ can be found within TikTok’s Community Guidelines.

TikTok’s guidelines protect against hate speech in regards to protected attributes including “race,” “ethnicity,” “gender,” and “sexual orientation.”

TikTok is not the first major social media platform to employ such a pop-up feature. Both Instagram and Facebook have utilized similar warnings. Instagram specifically noted the benefits of the feature as it “helps educate people on what we don’t allow.”

TikTok is known for its viral challenges and trendsetting abilities in today’s digital age and within popular culture. As young people look to TikTok to see what challenge to partake in next, will they also follow TikTok’s advice and avoid cyberbullying behaviors? It remains to be seen whether TikTok will be able to guide its users in a positive direction.