TikTok discriminates against content creators


Tik Tok has received numerous complaints from black creators for suppressing content relating to people of color. Creators reported that their videos were shadowbanned from the For You page, the main source of views and engagement on the platform. These reports were made most frequent during the George Floyd protests, when an unprecedented number of users were making content support of the Black Lives Matter movement.

On May 19 TikTok users rallied together for Blackout, a virtual peaceful protest held to amplify black voices. Users found that when they tagged videos with #BlackLivesMatter, views for them plummeted, with some disappearing from their feed altogether.

On June 1 TikTok released a statement responding to these complaints, citing that a “technical glitch” caused videos to display fewer views than they had actually received. Despite TikTok saying it would take measures to fix the problem and protect diversity on the platform, creators such as Challan Trishann and Ariam continue to report the issue to this day.

Cartersville student Cody Duncan says, “It’s disappointing to hear how a majority of creators are being censored by the app’s system. When it comes to the censorship of explicit content, it’s understandable because it’s being shown to such a young audience.”

This isn’t the first time TikTok has been accused of suppressing content. Leaked documents of the company’s moderation guide show that they were suppressing content from disabled, queer and overweight creators in the past. According to a report leaked by The Intercept, moderators were told to restrict viewership of videos showing users who are overweight or thin, have “abnormal body shape” or have “ugly facial looks or facial deformities.” A TikTok spokesperson said these rules were an “attempt to curb cyberbullying” and that they have since been replaced.

TikTok has not admitted to discriminatory practices or censorship, though as creators and users can see, it is clearly a problem.

TikTok needs to listen to the creators using their platform and fix the suppression of people of color’s videos. As well as remove other discriminatory practices built into the algorithm and guidelines set by TikTok.