Chinese-owned TikTok Bans LGBT Content Even Where Homosexuality Is Legal

Have you jumped onto the TikTok bandwagon? If you’re someone that has pined over the absence of Vine, you may have taken the plunge into the new quick video sharing app. 

The draw of being a part of social media and gathering followers is the big reason for many to jump on their phones. TikTok seems to be the ego toy of the youth, but you’ll see Will Smith on there and even Terry Crews, but the faces are those mainly of high schoolers and college-going folk as well as police officers trying to better the Po-Po’s image. 

What is allowed on TikTok? Most respond with a question. “Isn’t it just people singing and dancing and stuff?” It seems like all the fun stuff, but some people are being a little more serious on there and that is where problems areTikTok allows local moderation where banning of any content that could be deemed as not welcome can be banned.  Some of these bans are of content that may be LGBTQ positive, such as discussing gay rights and same-sex couples holding hands.

The TikTok rules, which many are under the label of “General Moderation Guidelines” seem to be a big fluffy loophole for the Chinese-owned app to do as they please.  With the ability to keep mentions of historically embarrassing events for China, like Tiananmen Square, Tibet and Falun Gong. ByteDance, the Beijing-based company that owns TikTok, says the moderation guidelines were replaced in May, the Guardian points out.

As well as the general moderation guidelines, described as the “loose version” to moderators, TikTok ran at least two other sets.

One, the “strict” guidelines, were used in countries with conservative moral codes, and contained a significantly more restrictive set of rules concerning nudity and vulgarity, which ban, for instance, “partially naked buttocks”, exposed cleavage with “a length of more than 1/3 of the whole cleavage length”, and lengthy depictions of sanitary pads.

The other was a set of guidelines for individual countries, which introduced new rules to deal with specific local controversies – but also further restricted what can be shown. For instance, the Guardian has seen Turkey-specific guidelines in which TikTok explicitly banned a swathe of content related to Kurdish separatism, and adds the country’s founding father, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, and its president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, to the list of political leaders who cannot be criticised, defamed or spoofed on the platform. – the Guardian

We have not seen issues here in the United States, or at least we do not know that our TikTok is being censored for what would they ban here in the US?  Pro-trump or Anti-trump items? White supremacy posts, racist posts? global warming conspiracies?

And an entire section of the rules was devoted to censoring depictions of homosexuality. “Intimate activities (holding hands, touching, kissing) between homosexual lovers” were censored, as were “reports of homosexual groups, including news, characters, music, tv show, pictures”. Similarly blocked was content about “protecting rights of homosexuals (parade, slogan, etc.)” and “promotion of homosexuality”. In all those guidelines, TikTok went substantially further than required by law.

ByteDance, the owner of TikTok stated it moved to localized guidelines in May, which uses local moderators to enforce local content as well as the ability to tweak global policies as they deem necessary.

The Guardian also elaborated on how TikTok previously advised moderators on how to treat possible under aged subjects. Their policy was to treat them as if they were over 18 and move forward, while other social media platforms have the policy to take the side of caution when age is unknown and someone may look too young.  Maybe because of backlash, the good news is now TikTok says it has recently reversed their policy and now requires moderators to treat people as under 18 if there was any doubt.

This is not the first time TikTok has come under fire. In April 2019:

Apple and Google have removed TikTok, which allows users to create and share videos, from their app stores in India.

The move follows a ruling by the Madras High Court, which ordered its removal from app stores over concerns that it was being used to spread pornography.

India’s top court on Tuesday refused an appeal by its owner, Chinese company ByteDance, to suspend the order.

TikTok has more than 120 million users in India but has faced criticism from some for hosting inappropriate content. – BBC.com

The ban in India was lifted later that month. 

Have you tried TikTok? It’s hard to see what we are missing.  I’ve used it to follow some cuties that put out some fun gay content, which I can see since I live in the US and they are, too.  Should 


Source: the Guardian  ,  BBC.com