Five things we learned from TikTok’s first ever grilling by politicians - Dexerto
Entertainment

Five things we learned from TikTok’s first ever grilling by politicians

Published: 22/Sep/2020 20:35 Updated: 1/Oct/2020 10:42

by Chris Stokel-Walker

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Despite repeatedly declining to testify in front of Congress – which may partly have contributed to the situation that has seen TikTok forced to give away 20% of its company to Oracle and Walmart in the oddest business deal of the year – TikTok was quizzed by politicians in the UK.

The Digital, Culture, Media and Sports Committee, a collection of politicians akin to a UK version of a Congressional hearing, questioned Theo Bertram, TikTok’s European head of public policy, for more than 90 minutes on September 22.

There was a lot of heat, some light – and plenty of light relief, as the politicians showed they struggled to understand some key elements of the app and its technology. Here’s what we learned.

1.6 million videos are posted on TikTok in the UK alone every day

In response to questioning from politicians, Bertram told the committee that in the first six months of 2020, TikTok users in the UK posted more than 300 million videos to the app – equating to 1.6 million every single day.

That’s a huge number, though perhaps not surprising: we know from leaked information published by Business Insider that an estimated five million videos are uploaded every hour worldwide.

Nearly half of TikTok’s UK employees are content moderators

The app published its transparency report just two hours before the hearing began, showing that 105 million videos were taken down from the platform in the first six months of 2020 for violating its policies.

That’s done through a combination of machine learning and human moderation – and we learned for the first time that 363 content moderators are employed by TikTok in the UK alone, out of 800 total employees.

One MP may have inadvertently admitted to looking at

Steve Brine, MP for Winchester, had an interesting line of questioning for Bertram. “Flicking through the TikTok feed this morning before the session, you know, it’s what my mother would have called ‘trashy’,” he said.

“There’s lots of content where mother and daughter… pushing their tushy, if you know what I mean. There’s lots of sexualised content in a clever way. There’s people jumping off piers into the water. Are we not better than that as a society?” Bertram didn’t point out that the videos served on TikTok’s For You page are determined by a user’s past engagement with similar videos.

MPs don’t know the difference between MAC addresses and Mac computers

“TikTok has been accused of accessing information on people’s Apple Macs, on their iPads, on their iPhones,” began one question from another MP, 62-year-old Clive Efford.

“I think the thing you’re referring to is the MAC, which is not actually the Apple Mac,” Bertram kindly corrected in response. “MAC is a feature that allows you to identify the device.”

Bertram doesn’t always like the laws TikTok has to follow

Much of the MPs’ questioning focused on whether Bertram approved of China’s state policies towards Uyghur Muslims, who are oppressed and brutalised by the Chinese state, or its censorship of student protests at Tiananmen Square in 1989.

The questions were designed to identify the issue with TikTok’s Chinese roots. But more interestingly, Bertram also admitted that the requirement to follow laws elsewhere gives him pause. Asked by John Nicholson MP about whether he was happy TikTok acceded to requests to take down LGBTQ+ content in Russia, Bertram said he agreed. “

The Russian law is terrible,” he said. “I think our communities does, too, and they strongly voice that on the platform. But we unfortunately have to comply with legal requests in the countries we operate.”

Entertainment

Dr Disrespect set to host own gaming award show for “true creatives”

Published: 30/Nov/2020 14:13 Updated: 30/Nov/2020 16:36

by Alex Garton

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Dr Disrespect will be hosting a new gaming award show next year that will have a range of unique categories. In his own words, he wants the show to focus on “things that really matter”.

Each year, certain game developers push the boundaries of the industry and create something brilliant. Therefore, it’s only right we have so many awards shows to shine a light on these projects and give them credit.

However, a lot of these ceremonies focus on handing out awards for entire games rather than focusing on the individual elements of a title. By the looks of it, Dr Disrespect is looking to fill this gap with his own reward show that focuses on handing out rewards for specific features gamers like him really care about.

Dr Disrespect
Dr Disrespect has over 3 million subscribers on Youtube.

Dr Disrespect plans to host his own award show in 2021

The most important aspect of an award show is the different categories for each of the accolades.

This is where the Doc is looking to make his ceremony unique and interesting: “I think the game industry needs an award show that focuses on things that really matter.” Rather than focusing on the broader project, the two-time wants to reward the individuals who put these amazing titles together.

A tweet made by the Doc gives some examples of the different categories we could expect from his show.

There’s no doubt it would be exciting to see a popular award show herald some of the individual developers that put these projects together. A lot of the time they do not get the recognition they deserve as most awards are given out for the entire project.

Doc finishes off the tweet by confirming we can expect to see the show at some point next year. It’ll be interesting to see if he hosts the ceremony independently or with an established award show brand.

Either way, it’s great news and to be honest it’s hard to think of a better host for a gaming award ceremony than the Two-Time. Let’s hope the Doc provides us with a specific date in the near future.