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How TikTok is playing ‘catch-up’ to remove distressing video

Australia’s eSafety Commissioner has written to the Prime Minister about the “horrendous, distressing” video circulating on social media of a US man’s suicide.

Julie Inman-Grant told Deborah Knight sadly a social media ban for kids in the interim may not be enough to stop them viewing it.

“It’s taken a while to go viral, but it has spread like wildfire around the globe and across platforms,” she said.

“We have been in touch with all of the platforms; TikTok is playing a bit of catch-up but they are working very hard to get across this.

“What all of the platforms are doing is taking a digital fingerprint, or a ‘hash’, of the video … so they can prevent upload the minute the system it detects it.”

She said the responsibility needs to be on platforms to build safety protections in, and the eSafety Commission has been in touch with Scott Morrison’s office about strengthening laws.

“If it’s illegal in the real world, it needs to become illegal in the online world.”

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