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TikTok hoping to curb challenges and hoaxes

TikTok is aiming to strengthen the detection and enforcement of rules against dangerous online challenges and hoaxes.

A new survey commissioned by the social media platform has revealed that just one in five teenagers has participated in an online challenge, with only one in 50 taking part in a "risky or dangerous" one.

There has been concern over some of the challenges that have gone viral on TikTok, including the "skull-breaker" challenge that was linked to injuries.

In response to the findings of the independent report, TikTok has pledged that technology that "alerts our safety teams to sudden increases in violating content linked to hashtags" would be expanded.

For example, if a hashtag such as #foodchallenge saw a spike in interest connected to videos breaking the company's rules, then TikTok would investigate.

The study also looked into suicide and self-harm hoaxes with 63 per cent of respondents claiming a hoax had a negative impact on their mental health.

The company said: "Hoaxes like these often have similar characteristics - and in previous cases, false warnings have circulated suggesting that children were being encouraged to take part in 'games' which resulted in self-harm.

"These hoaxes largely spread through warning messages encouraging others to alert as many people as possible to avoid perceived negative consequences."

TikTok said it had worked on developing a "new resource for our Safety Centre dedicated to challenges and hoaxes" and sought expert advice to make the platform safer for users.

It said: "A new prompt will encourage community members to visit our Safety Centre to learn more.

"And should people search for hoaxes linked to suicide or self-harm, we will now display additional resources in search."

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