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Chinese App TikTok Comes Up With New Safety Policy

The app's existing privacy and safety settings allow users to decide who can comment and react to their videos or send them a message and download content from their accounts. 

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TikTok has over 54 million monthly active users (MAUs) in India. Pixabay

Giving Indian users more account management control on its platform, video-sharing app TikTok on Friday launched a new safety feature that allows them to filter self-defined words in Hindi and English from the comments section.

The “Filter Comments” feature would automatically remove up to 30 user-defined words from the comments section. Users can also change the listed words as and when they want, the company said in a statement.

The safety feature comes as part of TikTok India’s #SafeHumSafeInternet and #BetterMeBetterInternet campaigns launched in partnership with the Cyber Peace Foundation to mark the Safer Internet Day (SID) on February 4.

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The “Filter Comments” feature would automatically remove up to 30 user-defined words from the comments section. Pixabay

The app’s existing privacy and safety settings allow users to decide who can comment and react to their videos or send them a message and download content from their accounts.

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TikTok has over 54 million monthly active users (MAUs) in India.

Owned by China-based company ByteDance, TikTok was first launched in China in 2016 as “Douyin”. It was rolled out to international markets in 2017. (IANS)

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Vaccine Doubts Spread Across Social Media Like Disease, Should be Taken Down: Vaccine Chief

"We have to think about it as a disease. This is a disease," Berkley said. "This spreads at the speed of light, literally"

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FILE - A vial of the measles, mumps, and rubella virus (MMR) vaccine is pictured at the International Community Health Services clinic in Seattle, Washington, U.S. VOA

Doubts about vaccines have spread across social media like a disease and false information that “kills people” should be taken down by the companies running digital platforms, the head of global vaccine alliance Gavi said on Tuesday.

Speaking at a U.S.-sponsored event on the sidelines of the World Health Organization’s annual assembly in Geneva, Gavi CEO Seth Berkley said there was a strong scientific consensus about the safety of vaccines.

But social media algorithms favored sensational content over scientific facts, rapidly convincing people who had never seen family members die from preventable illness.

“We have to think about it as a disease. This is a disease,” Berkley said. “This spreads at the speed of light, literally.”

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“A study says @Autism is out of control — a 78% increase in 10 years. Stop giving monstrous combined vaccinations,” Trump tweeted in 2012. Pixabay

WHO says poor vaccination coverage is causing measles outbreaks globally, with numbers spiking in countries that were previously almost free of the disease, including the United States.

Misinformation about vaccines, which the WHO says save two million lives annually, was not a freedom of speech issue and social media firms need to take it offline, Berkley said. “I remind people that this kills people,” he said.

U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said complacency, misunderstanding and misinformation were causing vaccination rates to decline globally, with tragic results.

“In my country, social media conspiracy groups confuse well-meaning parents so they hesitate to get the recommended vaccinations,” Azar said.

He rejected any criticism of U.S. President Donald Trump, who repeatedly and erroneously tweeted about links between vaccines and autism in the years before he became president.

“A study says @Autism is out of control — a 78% increase in 10 years. Stop giving monstrous combined vaccinations,” Trump tweeted in 2012.

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Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam said health authorities needed to “up our game,” adding that she was working with Twitter, Facebook, Google and other tech companies. Pixabay

Azar said Trump was “extremely firm” in support of vaccination.

“If you had been paying attention in the last month, you would know that the President of the United States, President Trump, was very clear and emphatic: get your shots, get your kids vaccinated, vaccines are safe,” Azar said.

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Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam said health authorities needed to “up our game,” adding that she was working with Twitter, Facebook, Google and other tech companies.

“You’ve got to get into the trenches … and begin to get engaged much more on a personal and emotional level, because people don’t understand statistics and data. If you do that. (VOA)