Popular short-video platform ‘TikTok’ can face serious criticism if the latest leaked documents are to be believed. The Chinese firm instructed its moderators to hide posts created by users it deemed to be ugly, poor, overweight, or disabled from its platform.
The revelations have been made in documents obtained by The Intercept. What’s interesting to note is this not the first time ‘TikTok‘ is facing such allegations. A report from Netzpolitik in 2019 said similar kinds of things. The company made previous efforts to censor the reach of those with visible or obvious disabilities read the report.
In its memo to moderators ByteDance (TikTok’s parent frim) specifically mentioned those with autism, Down syndrome, facial disfigurement, or “disabled people or people with some facial problems such as a birthmark, slight squint, and etc shall be removed, reveals the report.
In a similar kind of memo the company asked to suppress content featuring creators with an “abnormal body shape,” whether that was “chubby,” “obese,” or “too thin.” This also includes those with ugly facial looks or who are deemed unattractive. If the report is to be believed the company prohibited moderators from promoting content from such users.
It restricted such content to be shared on the “For You” page, which is the app’s main algorithmic feed. Without promotion on the app’s main page, it’s unlikely to reach more than a handful of users. The report, however, puts forward another important fact.
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Most of the policies were no longer in place, and some were never implemented at all said Intercept’s finding. As per the reports, these policies were an early blunt attempt at preventing bullying. Even if it was for bullying then TikTok was involved in the segregation of its user. This probably be done to achieve some larger goal. Which may be making it fancy and appealing for new users.