If you’re on TikTok, then chances are that you’ve shared a heap of videos in the vain hope something will go viral enough to propel you to internet stardom. Well folks, I hate to be the bearer of bad news. The likely reason you haven’t gone viral on TikTok isn’t because of your content but because the platform is likely censoring you for being not good-looking or rich enough.
Speaking of going viral, the GOAT team talk about Nikki Webster and Rebecca Black’s tour on ‘It’s Been A Big Day For…’ below:
According to internal documents obtained by The Intercept, TikTok have apparently been instructing moderators to censor and suppress posts from users they deem to be too ugly or poor for the platform. It is reported that TikTok artificially limits the audience reach for those they think aren’t good-looking or rich enough, essentially barring them from appearing on the platform’s “For You” section.
Some of the unfavourable physical traits outlined in TikTok’s company guidelines includes things like “abnormal body shape,” “ugly facial looks,” “dwarfism,” “obvious beer belly,” “too many wrinkles,” and “eye disorders.” The platform’s algorithm also doesn’t look too favourably on videos where the environments are “shabby and dilapidated” or if they’re filmed in “slums” and “rural fields.”
This is certainly discrimination but TikTok isn’t limiting it to just who they think is ugly and poor as The Intercept reports that the platform is also wielding its censorship hammer down on people with disabilities, political speeches, and negative political opinions about the police and government, especially Chinese institutions.
So why is the Chinese-owned TikTok censoring people who aren’t good-looking or rich enough for their tastes? Well apparently it’s all to project the idea that TikTok is populated by wealthy hot people in an attempt to attract new users to the platform.
Hmmm, China censoring things and truths it doesn’t like to hear or see and trying to promote a sense of “everything is fine” to outsiders. Sounds really familiar.
A TikTok spokesperson has since responded to The Intercept‘s report and said that this policy of censoring “poor” and “ugly” users was just part of “an early blunt attempt at preventing bullying, but are no longer in place.” If that sounds a bit too good to be true, that’s because it sort of is.
Aside from no mention about anti-bulling measures in the documents obtained by The Intercept, sources reaching out to the publication indicate that these nasty policies were in place as recently as late 2019.
The report from The Intercept on TikTok suppressing users who are not good-looking or rich enough is absolutely wild and it dives deeper into the app’s other cooked policies, such as the platform’s convoluted and occasionally contradictory rules about racist, sexist and other offensive content.
It’s all definitely worth a read and it’s certainly a better use of your time than trying to go viral on TikTok only to be told you’re too poor or ugly for them.
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