Fast-growing social networking app, TikTok, is admitting to taking certain measures to ensure content from particular users is not viewable by a wide audience. However, the company insists it’s being done with genuine intent.
According to a report by German site Netzpolitik, TikTok considers queer people, fat people, and those with disabilities to be at risk of cyberbullying and in an effort to protect them from potential harassment, the platform enlists moderators to flag their videos and limit the number of viewers they can reach. TikTok lists examples of disabilities as autism, Downs syndrome, facial disfigurement, facial problems such as birthmarks or slight squints, etc.
TikTok also uses hashtags to determine whether a user is at “risk.” Hashtags such as #foryou, #fyp, #disability, #fatwoman, or users with “Autist” or rainbow flags and other LGBT identifiers in their bio have also been moderated.
When moderators use these tactics, they limit the users’ ability to have their videos seen by others passed a certain number of views, or sometimes outside of their geographical area. Some users were restricted after 6,000 to 10,000 views. Some users’ videos are only viewable within their home country.
“This approach was never intended to be a long-term solution and although we had a good intention, we realized that it was not the right approach,” a spokesperson for TikTok told Netzpolitik.
What are your thoughts? Is censorship the best way to handle cyberbullying?