TikTok launches new ‘Rethink’ comment rules to stop bullying and harassment

Virginia Glaze
TikTok rolls out Rethink comment toolUnsplash.com - Hello I'm Nik

TikTok has become one of the internet’s most popular social media platforms, thanks in part to its massive wealth of content and viral videos — but it isn’t always the kindest, as a quick look in some comment sections reveals.

The internet has never been an especially kind place. Anonymity can bring out the worst in people, causing users to comment things they would never say aloud to another human being in-person.

With the onset of the current global health crisis, these mean comments have only risen in use, with studies showing that cyberbullying has increased a shocking 70% in quarantine.

A look through social media comment sections seems to prove this phenomenon true; but no platform is quite as toxic as TikTok, with the comment sections of some of the platform’s most popular creators filled with remarks that would make the average person slap their hand over their mouth.

In fact, quite a few of TikTok’s more prominent personalities have spoken out on this fact, with the likes of Sienna Mae begging viewers to put some thought into what they want to type out in the comments before hitting “send” — and it seems that TikTok itself is following suit.

On March 10, TikTok announced it is rolling out a new tool to help curb harassment in the comments section, which the application has named “Rethink.”

The Rethink tool builds upon TikTok’s already existing comment control options, which allow users to filter through certain keywords and spam. However, instead of acting as a toggle, this tool pops up whenever a user may have typed out an especially volatile message, with the prompt: “Would you like to reconsider posting this?”

Rethink TikTok Comment Prompt

It warns the user that their comment may violate Community Guidelines, and gives them the option to post in spite of the warning or to go back and edit or delete their comment.

“At TikTok, we continually work to maintain a supportive environment that enables our community to focus on what matters to them; being creative, finding community, and having fun,” TikTok’s Head of Product Policy, Julie de Bailliencourt, writes. “Our goal is to promote a positive environment where people support and lift each other up.”