According to documents obtained by The Intercept, the management of the TikTok app issued a very controversial statement to its moderates. The statement said that content created by users “unattractive, poor, fat and disabled” should not be promoted.
This information, although controversial, is not new. In 2019, the Netzpolitik website published a report stating that the company has a habit of creating selection criteria for the content published in the application. Thus, TikTok does not seem to want people with disabilities, deformities, weight problems or any type of facial disfigurement on the platform.
In addition to discrimination of physical characteristics, TikTok also asked moderators to suppress content shot in areas classified as “poor”. This includes content shot in the countryside or rural areas as well as construction areas, or social neighborhoods.
TikTok reputation is not exactly the best
It goes without saying that these are terrible practices on the part of ByteDance, owner of TikTok. However, in his defense, a spokesman for the application claims that these practices are no longer in use or have relevance in the current use of the app.
However, this is not a very favorable excuse, as the spokesman admitted that at times these discriminatory practices were used. Additionally, there is no guarantee that TikTok will not continue to promote content exclusively from people with a certain appearance.
TikTok is an app mostly used by young teenagers and children. Thus, restricting content to only “attractive people” is not a good lesson for users’ image and self-esteem. TikTok is increasingly popular, including in United Kingdom where it is already gathering several users.