Brand Safety

Building safety, privacy & transparency for our European community

03 March, 2023

Every month, a billion people from all over the world – and 150 million people from all over Europe – come to TikTok for entertainment, inspiration and joy. Brands of all sizes also turn to TikTok to connect with the community, co-create content, and build lasting relationships. We want to build the most trusted entertainment platform in the world, and the safety and security of our community are the foundations that make this possible. Only when our users and brands feel secure and protected can we fulfil our mission to inspire creativity and bring joy.

Keeping our community safe & secure

Our top priority as a platform is the safety and security of our community. By building a safe environment where users feel comfortable expressing themselves, we in turn create a positive environment for our brand partners to engage with the community. We are proud to have over 40,000 dedicated people working to keep TikTok safe globally.

Safety on TikTok starts with our Community Guidelines, which establish norms and a standard code of conduct for content and engagement. We are constantly evolving these guidelines to address the evolving needs of our platform, input from our partners, and where we see the industry headed. We moderate against our policies using a combination of technology and people, removing more than 96% of violative content before a user reports it to us.

When it comes to the content that is served to users, our recommendation system is deliberately designed with safety in mind. Last year we introduced Content Levels which, much like film and TV rating systems, organises videos on the For You page based on thematic maturity to ensure that users are seeing age-appropriate content. You can learn more about our approach to moderation and recommendation in our Transparency Centre.

We also offer a robust set of controls and tools that users can use to customise their TikTok experiences based on comfort level. From private accounts to engagement restrictions to Ad Personalisation, we are committed to giving everyone on TikTok the resources to tailor their experience.

We know that the security of user data is top-of-mind – that's why we're setting a new standard in data security with Project Clover. In addition to storing user data globally in the US and Singapore with rigorous access protocols, we will be opening additional European Data Centres in Ireland and Norway to meet local needs. We are also proud of the unprecedented steps we have taken to address security concerns in the US.

Empowering families in an evolving digital world

At TikTok, we are dedicated to creating a positive and entertaining environment for all users. Still, we take special care when approaching the experiences that younger users have on the platform. We welcome all users over the age of 13 to enjoy TikTok, and for teens ages 13-17, our robust suite of industry-leading youth safety settings, tools, and digital literacy resources ensures that the TikTok experience is fun, entertaining, and age-appropriate.

When we designed these policies and features, we did so with an understanding that, while each person on our platform is unique, it's important to offer extra support to teens as they begin to build an online presence. We've developed a range of tailored policies and controls to address the needs of teen users, such as disabling direct messages and making profiles private by default for users aged 13-15.

We also just announced we would be setting 60-minute screen time limits by default for users 13-17 - an industry-first initiative focused on teen wellbeing. To help facilitate family conversations and planning around digital safety, Family Pairing on TikTok enables parents and guardians to bind their account to their teen's account to set guardrails over settings, content and screen time. These were all intentional decisions made by TikTok's experts in youth well-being, in partnership with academia, NGOs and our Advisory Councils. They are based on insight gained from extensive research, often with teens and parents themselves.

Building for the future of brand suitability

The TikTok advertising experience is built with brand safety in mind, with most offerings appearing as full-screen, 100% share-of-voice ad units – meaning no other content is adjacent on-screen.

All of our ad products offer comment management controls, like filtering comments by advertiser-defined rules, hiding unsuitable comments, turning comments off entirely, and analysing comments through a simple dashboard.

TikTok Inventory Filter

We understand that brands want control of where and how their brand shows up. Our proprietary TikTok Inventory Filter solution gives advertisers control over the type of user-generated content that runs adjacent to their ads. Informed by our own policies and industry standards like the GARM Brand Safety Floor and Suitability Framework, TikTok Inventory Filter uses machine learning to classify content across 17 categories and 4 levels of risk, providing added reassurance that an advertiser's investment is showing up in a suitable environment.

Brand safety and suitability partners

We are also working with trusted technology partners to measure the effectiveness of our pre-campaign solutions against established standards. We recently introduced three partners – Zefr, IAS, and DoubleVerify – as our inaugural group of badged Measurement Partners with a speciality in Brand Safety & Suitability for our TikTok Marketing Partner Program.

With our measurement partners' solutions and the TikTok Inventory Filter, campaigns consistently return brand safety and suitability rates above 99% across the range of European markets where available. We are continuously working to build out more brand safety & suitability solutions that meet advertisers' needs through market and language expansion and new technical offerings.

Evolving with the new privacy landscape

TikTok offers various ways for users to control the ad content they see and the information they share. TikTok's ad privacy settings make it easy for users to personalize their ad experience. In the EEA, the UK and Switzerland, users can currently control personalisation of the ads that they see using their in-TikTok and off-TikTok activity. They also have the ability to hide ads from advertisers who have recently shown them ads. TikTok will continue to strive to keep ads relevant to our users while respecting their ad choices.

Tools for businesses

Advertisers are not required to share activity from their websites or apps with TikTok to advertise on our platform; however, sharing website and app events helps them create target audiences, optimize ad delivery, and measure ad performance. TikTok for Business offers multiple tools to help businesses safely share the actions people take on their websites with TikTok, such as TikTok Pixel and Events API.

Advertisers can choose what data they want to share (and what data they don't want to share) depending on their marketing objectives.

Secure information sharing

TikTok has built world-class security protocols for protecting information shared by businesses. We work with outside partners to continuously test, validate and enhance our security infrastructure. Data shared by both the TikTok Pixel and Events API is sent to TikTok's servers via Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS), a secure way of sending data between a web browser and web server. If an advertiser chooses to use Advanced Matching, contact details are required to be hashed in line with standard industry practices (SHA-256). TikTok will not provide audiences the business creates for other advertisers for use.

TikTok also requires that businesses have provided necessary transparency notices, and have all necessary rights, permissions, and lawful bases (including consent, if and where required).

Additionally, it goes against TikTok's legal terms for advertisers to share any information about children, health data, financial information, or any sensitive information with us.

Adapting to global data protection laws

TikTok is continuously working to comply with local data protection laws in all relevant markets. For more details related to regulation in the European Economic Area, please see our Jurisdiction Specific Terms.

Partnering for Progress

We are at our best when we work together. We have built hundreds of impactful partnerships globally with experts, NGOs, industry organisations, and even parents and teens themselves to help us build a positive environment for our community. We also have six advisory councils, which are groups of independent online safety experts who help us develop forward-looking policies and programs that not only address the challenges of today but also plan ahead to continuously make TikTok a safe and secure platform for all.

Ad industry partnerships & certifications

When it comes to building for our advertisers, we work closely with trusted partners around the world to align with standards and certifications. Our work with GARM has made strong contributions to the development of new industry standards and towards transparency through the Aggregated Measurement Report. We also work closely with partners like the Brand Safety Institute and the 614 Group to strengthen education and amplification around digital safety globally.

We strive to stay accountable through independent audits of our platform, and we're proud to be recognized by the Trustworthy Accountability Group for being TAG Brand Safety Certified and TAG Certified Against Fraud globally.

Beyond using these partnerships to inform our own operations, we also aim to take the lead in pushing the industry forward collaboratively. We will continue to work with our partners around the world as we build a safer digital ecosystem for all.

Championing transparency and accountability

As a company, we strive to be open and transparent with our community, brands and advertisers, regulators, and the general public. Over the past several years, we have regularly expanded upon our transparency and accountability efforts, including:

  • Providing increasingly robust reporting through our quarterly Community Guidelines Enforcement Reports, which offer insight into the volume and nature of content and accounts acted upon by TikTok. These reports have evolved to now cover removal rates for all TikTok policies and sub-policies, ad removals, inauthentic behaviour, and covert influence operations.

  • Officially opening the doors to our physical Transparency & Accountability Centre in Dublin, where we provide stakeholders with an under-the-hood look at how TikTok operates, from our algorithm and source code to data security protocols and moderation practices. Though we have given hundreds of virtual tours globally to date, we are proud to be bringing our physical centres to more locations, including Los Angeles, Washington D.C., and Singapore.

  • Giving users more insight into the type of content they see on TikTok and visibility into their account violation status; our 'Why this video' feature gives users reasons behind why a given video appears on their For You page, and we recently updated the system that informs viewers about violations on their accounts.

  • Launching 'About this ad', an in-app transparency feature that allows users to see why they are being shown certain ad content. With a couple of taps, users can view some of the factors that were used to deliver a particular ad, such as age, location, and estimated interests. This allows TikTok users to have a clearer understanding of how advertisers reach them on TikTok and to further personalise their advertising experience.

Introducing the Commercial Content Library

TikTok is continuously working to increase transparency about our platform, including providing access to the ads being served to our community. We are excited to introduce the Commercial Content Library, a database of all ads targeted to the European Economic Area (EEA) by any advertiser to help bring more transparency to advertising on the platform.

To start, we are inviting researchers, academics, and users to test the platform and help inform what we're building as part of a limited beta. They will have access to various information, such as the advertising creative, the dates the ad ran, the main parameters used for targeting, the number of users who were targeted, the total number of people who were served the ad, and the name of who presented the ad and who paid for it (if different) as we gather feedback on usability and the overall experience.

We look forward to hearing from testers and incorporating their feedback in order to create a transparency tool that best serves the needs of our community. The Commercial Content Library will open to the general public later this year. If you are interested in testing our library, please submit an application below.

Building for the future

It's truly humbling to see how TikTok has become part of the culture and fabric of everyday life for people in Europe. We're committed to continuing to accelerate real-world opportunity for our community while striving to set a new standard in safety and security to maintain TikTok as a place that excites and entertains for years to come. There is also no finish line when it comes to safety, security, and privacy on TikTok, so we will continue to build for the future and remain open to feedback as we stay accountable to all our stakeholders.

As part of our efforts to continuously improve our safety efforts, our Transparency Forum event series is an opportunity for us to share updates and tangible progress in making TikTok the safest place for creative self-expression. Register your interest in attending our 2023 event here.

Get your library card for the Commercial Content Library

We're looking for feedback on our new transparency tool from key industry stakeholders and that could mean you! Apply to be a part of our limited beta for the Commercial Content Library.

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