In July 2022, TikTok launched a device known as Filter Video Key phrases to let customers block movies with phrases or hashtags they didn’t need to see. Cormac Keenan, Head of Belief and Security at TikTok, described it as an essential security characteristic to “assist viewers customise their viewing preferences and proceed to have a secure and entertaining expertise.” Keenan promised it will “be accessible to everybody within the coming weeks.” Greater than a 12 months later, a whole bunch of TikTok customers stated they didn’t have entry to the setting or, in the event that they did, that it didn’t work.
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After being contacted by Gizmodo, the corporate stated it stepped in to resolve the issue.
Final month, I posted a video on my private TikTok account about utilizing the setting to dam content material concerning the firm’s retail retailer, which launched Sept. 12. The video included a tutorial and display screen recording that confirmed precisely the place to search out Filter Video Key phrases. However because the feedback rolled in, dozens of individuals stated their apps didn’t have the setting.
“My content material preferences don’t have ‘filter video key phrases,’” one person wrote, punctuating with a tragic little emoji. “I don’t have the setting, can’t determine why,” stated one other. Some speculated the corporate sabotaged the setting due to my video, which is a flattering however vastly inflated view of my stage of social media affect. “I simply tried to do that & shouldn’t have the choice to dam key phrases,” a person stated. “Did TikTok get hip to this hack??” A month glided by, and I posted two extra movies on the topic. Related feedback poured in.
Lots of of different folks stated they did have the setting however it didn’t perform as described. Customers reported they have been seeing movies with hashtags they blocked utilizing Filter Video Key phrases, together with #tiktokshop, #taylorswift, and others. One person stated they’d blocked over 100 hashtags however frequently noticed movies that characteristic them.
There are only a few legal guidelines governing the social media enterprise within the US, however the one that usually journeys up tech giants is the prohibition on unfair and misleading enterprise practices. The Federal Commerce Fee has issued opinions stating that breaking guarantees about privateness and security settings violates the legislation. So I contacted TikTok concerning the feedback. In line with a cheerful spokesperson, the entire thing was a glitch.
“I spoke to the workforce, and we recognized a current challenge that quickly impacted a small variety of customers,” the spokesperson stated. “We have been in a position to challenge a repair. As at all times, we encourage everybody to make use of the newest model of the TikTok app.” The spokesperson stated that anybody lacking the setting ought to see it after they replace the app. The spokesperson declined to say how many individuals have been affected, or what the supply of the issue was.
Nevertheless, a repair to the setting’s disappearance doesn’t clarify the complaints of customers who stated the Filter Video Key phrases device didn’t work even after they did have entry to it.
In TikTok’s description of the setting (and on the web page within the app the place Filter Video Key phrases is discovered), the corporate says you’re not allowed to dam sure hashtags, together with #advert and #sponsored. However the spokesperson confirmed that customers are free to dam #tiktokshop, although they didn’t provide a proof for why folks would see movies with a beforehand blocked hashtag.
In 2019, an investigation by yours actually discovered that hundreds of thousands of individuals have been lacking a Fb privateness setting that turned off facial recognition a 12 months and a half after the corporate promised to ship it. In that occasion, the Federal Commerce Fee acquired concerned, and cited the issue as considered one of its key complaints in a $5 billion settlement with Fb, the corporate now referred to as Meta. In the end, Fb disabled facial recognition altogether and deleted faceprint information for over a billion folks.
In different phrases, Gizmodo simply saved TikTok. All in a day’s work.