It’s the probably the closest we’re going to get to a content moderation theme park. TikTok
this week revealed
it will open a transparency centre in its LA offices where the public can examine its moderation practices and watch how its team operates.
As the announcement sets out, the centre will:
operate as a forum where observers will be able to provide meaningful feedback on our practices.
Although it is focused primarily on attracting outside experts and policymakers, anyone can walk in off the street in theory (it’s unclear at this stage whether there will be queues or height restrictions). The centre will open in early May.
Although it’s the first time that a company has done this for content moderation, it isn’t a new tactic for Chinese tech companies under pressure from regulators. Huawei opened a similar bricks-and-mortar centre in Brussels in early 2019
to ‘facilitate communication between Huawei and key stakeholders on cybersecurity strategies and end-to-end cybersecurity’.
This week saw another slew of headlines about TikTok’s content policies — Wired reported
that users were being surfaced pro-anorexia content — so any oversight into the way the algorithm and how its human moderators surface content is welcome.
Anything less is a sham.