Short video service Tiktok wants to open. The company provides APIs for this purpose, which scientists and researchers, as well as civil society can use to view how the platform works. First, there is a beta version developed for researchers. However, the first testing phase has already been completed. In this, Tiktok Security Advisory Board members who are aware of hate speech, disinformation, and extremism should use the search API.
Selected members are granted access to publicly available data via the API. The actual approach must then be developed with comments, keeping in mind the scientists’ requirements. Of course, the privacy of the community is respected. So you shouldn’t expect researchers to get all the information from the platform, let alone the algorithm. This is not possible for data protection reasons alone. The main problem is that your private data always only provides information about certain app behaviors in relation to other accounts.
Access must be requested
In addition to this platform API, a content moderation interface is also planned. We will announce more details about wider availability in the coming months. It came in the blog post with the advertisement. In addition, the Transparency Center will be updated with information about the API for Scholars, including information on how to apply for access and how to use it. It is not yet clear what requirements must be met in order to be able to use the interface.
It’s been known for a few months that Tiktok wants to publish programming interfaces as part of its transparency work. For research purposes, user activities and content can be viewed and insights about the moderation system can be given. Advisory board members should have more access, such as confidential information in keyword lists that are used to identify problematic content. This API shall also be effective upon exchange with the US Content Advisory Board. A panel of independent experts liaises with the regional security authorities. The company explains that keyword lists are not published directly by Tiktok, so this information cannot be used to circumvent it.
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