TikTok is launching a new feature that will make it easier for users and developers to deal with cyberbullying. Instead of having to edit comments one by one, the company is releasing new tools that will allow developers to bulk delete comments and block users.
This update can be divisive because it allows creators to create an identity in which their content appears to be well-received when, in fact, it has received a lot of backlash or correction from the TikTok community.
When Twitter faced a similar problem in the past, it had to choose between giving the original poster power of the discussion and ceding the control to the entire Twitter user base. Twitter’s “Hidden Responses” function allows users to tuck all of the unhelpful and offensive comments behind an extra click — the replies aren’t completely deleted, so they can’t derail a conversation.
TikTok on the other hand, places complete power in the creator’s hands. That’s a more Facebook-like approach, in which users can exclude something they don’t want from their own user profile, like negative feedback on their posts.
Since TikTok’s social network is primarily built for video creation, this could be the best option. Duets and stitches are video formats that enable TikTok users to react to and respond to other users’ content while also creating new content that increases a creator’s profile. This is something that some designers take advantage of. They call out people that have shared something they don’t agree with — often material that straddles the line between being a “poor opinion” and breaking misinformation laws. They then duet or stitch (or green screen duet) the content to express their own opinions on the subject. This method, on the other hand, can lead to a swarm of enraged fans flocking to the other video, where they troll and harass the original poster.
Such digital abuse and bullying, according to TikTok, can be “discouraging.” While the new bulk delete feature will not fix these societal problems, it can allow creators to clean up their comments section and block trolls quickly enough to reclaim some power over their profile. Users will open a window of options by long-pressing on a comment or tapping the pencil icon in the upper-left corner. Instead of going one by one, they can pick up to 100 comments or accounts from here, making it easier to delete, report, or block users in bulk.
The new feature will first be available in the United Kingdom, South Korea, Spain, the United Arab Emirates, Vietnam, and Thailand, according to TikTok. Then it will be rolled out to other markets around the world in the coming weeks, including the United States.
In related news, TikTok recently announced an in-app job service.
Photo via TikTok