TikTok has published a meaningful transparency report based on the requirements of the Network Enforcement Act (NetzDG) for the first time. The Chinese operator of the social network, on which users can post short videos via an app, received a total of 141,830 complaints about crime in the first half of 2020. 97,702 users submitted directly, in 44,128 cases institutionalized complaints offices became active.
Don’t miss any news! With our daily newsletter you will receive all heise online news from the past 24 hours every morning.
Subscribe to the newsletter now
Propaganda, injured areas of life and child pornography
Around 28,000 entries related according to statistics on insultswhat makes TikTok the biggest volume. In second place are 12,500 complaints about “spreading propaganda from unconstitutional organizations”. 13,192 reports related to the “violation of the very personal area of life by taking pictures”, 12,024 to incitement to the people, almost 12,000 to the dissemination, acquisition or possession of “child pornography”.
In around 14,600 cases, the provider took “measures” after an examination, ie blocked or removed the incriminated content. This corresponds to about ten percent of the entries. With around 14,000 complaints, the operator responded in less than 24 hours. “In complex cases we consulted a specialized external law firm,” the document says. This occurred in the reporting period for 22 NetzDG complaints.
The NetzDG includes providers of social networks that have more than two million registered users in Germany. If they receive more than 100 complaints about illegal content per year, they must publish a report about it no later than one month after the end of a half-year.
Complaints directly via the app or web form
TikTok released a report for the first time for July to December 2019, in which the number of cases was still very small. For example, the predecessor only mentions a little over 1,000 complaints, 50 of which have been removed or blocked.
It is not clear from the illustration whether the statistics were so low only due to the significantly lower number of users at that time or the notification procedures that were only introduced during the half year. In principle, users can complain about the app directly under videos under the “Share” icon or via a Web form Submit. Comments can also be reported.
YouTube takes action within 24 hours
According to their current reports, YouTube and Facebook each have significantly more complaints than in the six months before. The Google video portal recorded a total of 388,824 entries in the first half of the year versus 277,478 between June and December 2019. 267,185 complaints came from users in the most recent reporting period, 121,639 from hotlines. With over 100,000 references, YouTube was particularly concerned with “hate speech or political extremism”, followed in second place with 76,749 cases “personality injuries or insults”.
Overall, the operator of the video page removed or blocked a good 90,000 content, compared to around 72,000 in the previous six months. Only in 39 cases did the provider contact the uploader again to confront him with a complaint and to obtain a statement. In the case of 20,308 submissions, the complainant had to provide further information to substantiate his action against content. In the overwhelming part of the measures taken, these were carried out within 24 hours.
Facebook relies on machine learning, computer vision and AI
At Facebook Between January and June, 4292 reports received over 6038 contentswhile there were 3,087 complaints about 4,274 content from July to December 2019. The operator deleted or blocked 2308 posts based on 1344 entries in the past six months, which corresponds to around 38 percent. 3683 reports came from individuals, 609 from complaints offices. 2330 complaints were about insults, 1697 about sedition, 1677 about slander.
Facebook’s figures are not directly comparable to those of the other major platforms, since the provider uses a “separate reporting path”, meaning that members have to fill out a special form. The group has tested its own but also “options, in which users can access the NetzDG registration form via an additional link in the menu selection of each content.
In addition, 95.7 percent of the hate speech reports had already been checked within 24 hours based on their own community standards, “more than YouTube and Twitter,” the company says. “New technologies such as machine learning, computer vision and artificial intelligence” help “find illegal content even faster and on a much larger scale”.
Twitter: Most common complaint – sedition
On Twitter, complaints totaled 843,527 in the second half of 2019 this time to 765.715 back. The number of submissions by individual users fell by 11.4 percent to 707,000, while those from complaints offices rose by 28.7 percent to 58,000. In 2019, the number went up sharply in both halves of the year, with an increase of 68.9 percent in the second half alone, the company said. The current development indicates “a current stabilization” of the volume.
In 122,302 cases, Twitter took measures such as blockages or deletions. Around 350 of them had the opportunity to comment beforehand. The most frequent cause of complaint was sedition, this time with 184,727 references. Insult came in second place with 175,852 incidents, 91,505 complained users received a public request for criminal offenses.