TikTok admitted to censoring contributions from users classified as disabled, fat, or LGBTQ + as part of a misguided effort to reduce bullying on the platform.
According to a report by the German website NetzPolitik.org, the video sharing site artificially limited the reach of users who were believed to be susceptible to bullying if their videos reached a broad audience.
The repression took several forms: for some users, this meant that their videos were not shown outside their home country; for others, the content of TikTok's most popular algorithmic feed, the public "For You" page, was retained after reaching a certain number of views. In general, it was applied to certain videos, but some high-profile users were singled out and given unsolicited protection.
The automatic restrictions were applied to users who were "vulnerable to bullying or harassment due to their physical or mental condition," according to documents received from NetzPolitik.org, including "Disfigurement of the Face, Autism, Down Syndrome, [or] disabled people or people with some facial problems ".
Other users were included in the restriction list ̵
TikTok confirmed the content of the report and told the publication that the rules were a stopgap for bullying on the platform and" were never intended to be a long-term solution. "
TikTok said, "In response to the increase in bullying in the app, we have early implemented a dull and temporary policy. Although the intention was good, the approach was wrong and we have long changed the previous policy in favor of more sophisticated anti-bullying policies and in-app protection measures. According to Netzpolitik.org, the rules were only in effect in September
The leaks are the latest, showing how TikTok plays a much stronger role in content moderation on its website than the competitors based in Silicon Valley.
The Company Owned by the Chinese Unicorn [valued at $1bn] Bytedance had previously instructed the moderators to follow a set of guidelines hiding videos that violated the Beijing Orthodoxy: content that supported Taiwan's continued independence; or referred to the killings on the Tiananmen Square were invisible. These rules were changed according to TikTok in May.