'Tear it down': PM lays into TikTok after 'harmful' video goes viral

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·Associate News Editor
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Prime Minister Scott Morrison says he has a “serious concern” over the safety of children on social media after a “disgraceful” video went viral this week on TikTok.

He hit out at the social media giant, calling for more action to protect young Australians and demanded the “very damaging” video circulating on the app, as well as others, be taken down.

Parents and children have been warned to be wary of footage showing a man in the United States taking his own life.

The video was originally posted to Facebook but is now circulating on TikTok, with predators reportedly using innocent clips of animals to lure children into watching the suicide video.

The prime minister said the laws and standards of behaviour for the real world must also apply online.

Scott Morrison has hit out at TikTok over a disturbing viral video. Source: Getty/ Scott Morrison
Scott Morrison has hit out at TikTok over a disturbing viral video. Source: Getty/ Scott Morrison

"No child should be exposed to horrifying content like this," Mr Morrison said.

Mr Morrison shared his own video to his social channels to get his message across.

“Those who run these organisations have a responsibility to those who are watching it,’ he said.

"Platforms like TikTok need to put in more resources to detect and tear down this sort of harmful content. That is their responsibility."

PM takes action to ensure ‘these things don’t happen’

Mr Morrison said Australia's eSafety commissioner was engaging closely with TikTok to get the video removed and that “these sorts of things don’t happen”.

A spokeswoman for TikTok said moderators were detecting and removing the video as people tried to upload it.

"We are banning accounts that repeatedly try to upload clips," she told AAP.

"We appreciate our community members who've reported content and warned others against watching, engaging or sharing such videos."

TikTok has also been accused of censoring political and social topics such as LGBTI issues and the crackdown in Uighurs in China.

Tiktok censoring content, report finds

A new report by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute describes the video-sharing platform as a powerful political actor with global reach.

It found the Chinese-owned company censored topics and suppressed content to make it harder to find.

According to TikTok, some of the terms ASPI highlighted were restricted due to local laws.

TikTok has vehemently denied it shares information with the Chinese government, a security issue that has prompted US President Donald Trump to urge the sale of its American division to Microsoft or face being banned.

Mr Morrison has previously ruled out banning TikTok but said intelligence agencies would continue to monitor the popular short video app.

Readers seeking support and information about suicide prevention can contact Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636, Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467.

with AAP

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