TikTok may push potentially harmful content to teens within minutes, study finds

TikTok may push potentially harmful content to teens within minutes, study finds

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Key Facts

  • CNN — TikTok may surface potentially harmful content related to suicide and eating disorders to teenagers within minutes of them creating an account, a new study suggests, likely adding to growing scrutiny of the app’s impact on its youngest users.
  • In a report published Wednesday, the non-profit Center for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH) found that it can take less than three minutes after signing up for a TikTok account to see content related to suicide and about five more minutes to find a community promoting eating disorder content.
  • A TikTok spokesperson pushed back on the study, saying it is an inaccurate depiction of the viewing experience on the platform for varying reasons, including the small sample size, the limited 30-minute window for testing, and the way the accounts scrolled past a series of unrelated topics to look for other content.
  • (After CNN sent a sample from this list of five accounts to Instagram for comment, the company removed them, saying they all broke Instagram’s policies against encouraging eating disorders.) TikTok said it does not allow content depicting, promoting, normalizing, or glorifying activities that could lead to suicide or self-harm.

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