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Contribution to Wildlife Protection on TikTok and Beyond

by rajesh

Last year, TikTok became a part of the Coalition to End Wildlife Trafficking Online, established in 2018 by World Wildlife Fund (WWF), TRAFFIC, and IFAW. This coalition unites e-commerce, search, and social platforms worldwide to combat wildlife trafficking on the internet. Since then, we’ve collaborated closely with WWF to improve our policies, introduce in-app safety features and tools, and promote awareness about the species we share our planet with. Our goal is to continue our efforts to prevent harmful content and activities, including wildlife trafficking, from spreading on our platform.

Protecting against harmful content
At the core of our efforts to ensure safety on TikTok are our Community Guidelines, which serve as a set of rules outlining our vision for the platform by specifying the types of behavior and content that are not allowed. These guidelines explicitly forbid content that portrays or promotes wildlife poaching or illegal trading, and we’ve established a dedicated reporting category within the app to allow our community to report such content to us. Additionally, our Advertising Policies prohibit the promotion of products derived from endangered, vulnerable, or threatened animals, as well as the sale of animals themselves.

To put these policies into practice, our global safety team takes action. I am honored to be a part of this team, which is responsible for ensuring TikTok remains free from violative content of this nature. Our team comprises experts from various fields, including product development, policy, compliance, and non-governmental organizations, all committed to upholding the highest safety standards. We greatly value our collaboration with the Coalition and WWF, which helps us refine our policies and enhance our enforcement and content removal methods. With their guidance, we have already blocked approximately 400 keywords and hashtags associated with wildlife trafficking. Although illegal wildlife trade content is not prevalent on TikTok, we proactively identify and remove any harmful content to maintain a safe environment.

Supporting education and conversation

Content removals are just one facet of our comprehensive safety strategy. We recognize the importance of empathetic interventions and education in promoting a safe online environment. To foster learning and awareness, we redirect searches, so when users seek content violating our wildlife trafficking policies, they receive a message reminding them of our rules. Moreover, in collaboration with WWF, we’ve introduced public service announcements when users search for or engage with wildlife-related content or hashtags. The aim is to encourage our community to delve deeper into this vital topic and direct them to reliable information sources.

TikTok has fostered a thriving community dedicated to sharing content on critical subjects like environmentalism. Every day, we witness this community’s conservation-focused content reaching new audiences. These creators, including TV networks, parks, veterinarians, marine biologists, and activists, utilize TikTok to convey their narratives, educate people about wildlife’s significance, and express their dedication to environmental protection. Hashtags like #conservation and #wildlife have amassed over 12 billion views within our app.

Inspired by our community, we marked World Sea Turtle Day last year, emphasizing the importance of sea turtle conservation. Six out of seven sea turtle species face the threat of extinction due to activities like poaching and commercial fishing. Their predicament underscores our commitment to learning from partners such as the Coalition to End Wildlife Trafficking Online and WWF, and evolving our approaches to identify and remove content and activities that may harm wildlife. Although there’s no final destination in terms of safety, preventing online wildlife trafficking remains a crucial ongoing effort to ensure TikTok’s positive impact on people both within and beyond the platform.

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