One of the world’s most dominant apps, TikTok, is under some serious heat for suppressing video content from its users. A new report published by the Intercept reveals TikTok documents in which moderators were instructed to stifle content from users “who appeared too ugly, poor or disabled” for the platform. This was with the goal in mind to attract new and youthful users.
The docs go into details, describing “ugly” as those who have “abnormal body shape,” are “chubby,” or “obese or too thin.” Also, those who have “ugly facial looks or facial deformities.” Also stated, “…if the character’s appearance is not good, the video will be much less attractive, not worthing [sic] to be recommended to new users.”
It’s up for debate how long these practices were implemented and to what degree. Either way, this isn’t the first time TikTok has been called out for excluding content, such as political speech.
TikTok, naturally, denied much of the blame: “Most of the guidelines the Intercept presented are either no longer in use, or in some cases appear to have never been in place, but it is correct that for live streaming TikTok is particularly vigilant about keeping sexualized content off the platform.”
If the accusations are indeed true, TikTok’s practices ironically go against the app’s slogan, Real People. Real Videos.
Sources: The Guardian, The Intercept