In these quarantine times, TikTok and the hilarious videos created on the social networking service continue to keep us entertained. But now, an alarming story about TikTok’s restrictions has folks side-eyeing the app’s creators. According to leaked documents obtained by The Intercept, TikTok tried to restrict posts from “ugly, poor, or disabled users” and more.
From The Intercept:
“On TikTok, livestreamed military movements and natural disasters, video that ‘defamed civil servants,’ and other material that might threaten ‘national security’ has been suppressed alongside videos showing rural poverty, slums, beer bellies, and crooked smiles. One document goes so far as to instruct moderators to scan uploads for cracked walls and ‘disreputable decorations’ in users’ own homes — then to effectively punish these poorer TikTok users by artificially narrowing their audiences.
“TikTok is owned by ByteDance, a Beijing-headquartered company that operates a suite of popular sites and social apps, a sort of Chinese analog to Facebook,” The Intercept explains, adding “ByteDance, founded in 2012, has come under scrutiny by the U.S. government over its ties to the Chinese Communist Party and numerous reports that the app’s censorship tactics mirror those of Beijing; Sens.”
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A TikTok rep told the site that “most of” the aforementioned guidelines “are either no longer in use, or in some cases appear to never have been in place,” insisting these rules “represented an early blunt attempt at preventing bullying, but are no longer in place, and were already out of use when The Intercept obtained them.”
But The Intercept’s sources say otherwise. “Sources indicated that both sets of policies were in use through at least late 2019 and that the livestream policy document was created in 2019,” the site goes on to state.
Read the full report here and chime in with your thoughts — it’s pretty horrifying.