A new report says TikTok moderators have been censoring content by ‘unattractive’ users

Videos that have “low quality” traits, such as “abnormal body shape”, “ugly facial looks”, or "dwarfism" have been filtered out of the “For You” explore page, severely limiting their reach.

by Jenna Mahale
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17 March 2020, 11:23am

In the latest upset of the hell year that is 2020, it turns out that you can get negged by a social media company’s policy as easily as you can by egg avatars on Twitter. Yay! According to leaked content guidelines, TikTok moderators have been under instruction to limit the reach of videos made by users assessed as "poor," "unattractive," and "disabled", says a new report.

The online news publication The Intercept revealed in a recent report that videos that had “low quality” traits, such as “abnormal body shape”, “ugly facial looks”, or "dwarfism" would be filtered out of the “For You” explore page, severely limiting their reach.

Moderators, it has been claimed, were instructed to screen clips that took place in "shabby and dilapidated" buildings, seeking out characteristics such as a “crack on the wall” or “old and disreputable decorations" to indicate that the content should be suppressed. Classism is one big yikes, guys.

In addition to this, the report alleges that TikTok moderators were told to hide posts that could be seen as “anti-government”. Users faced permanent bans if they posted anything construed as “endangering national security” or “national honour and interests”, and three-day suspensions for "personal live broadcast[s] about state organs such as police office, military, etc.”

A spokesperson for the platform denied that these guidelines were still in use in a statement: “Most of [the rules] are either no longer in use, or in some cases appear to never have been in place,” said Josh Gartner, Tiktok's Senior Director of Corporate Communications. "[The guidelines] 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."

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Censorship
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