The TikTok music social network trained its content moderators around the world to reduce the dissemination on the platform of user publications such as people with visible disabilities, overweight or belonging to the LGTBI community.
MADRID. According to internal documents of TikTok moderators in Germany to which Netzpolitik has had access, the platform's employees marked certain videos as risky and restricted their dissemination by considering some people as "highly vulnerable to cyberbullying", regardless of their content .
Among this group of "special users", as the platform calls them in their policies, there were people with appreciable functional diversity at a glance and also users belonging to the LGTBI or overweight community.
In this way, Bytadance, the Chinese company that owns the social network, established that the videos of these users would only be disseminated among TikTok users in their country of origin, instead of the billion people who use the platform in the present.
In addition, when the videos of users with disabilities reached between 6,000 and 10,000 views, the moderators automatically marked them in the category of 'not recommended', so that these, although not deleted, ceased to appear in the 'feed' of publications.
Among the disabilities likely to be classified by TikTok were physical and mental conditions, including facial disfigurement, autism and Down Syndrome. People with birthmarks on the face or strabismus were also classified within this category, according to moderation documents.
Likewise, Netzpolitik has reported the existence of cases in which users who used 'hashtags' or mentions related to the LGTBI community that were defined as homosexuals or non-binary gender, such as rainbows, or overweight people who used mentions such as #fatwoman ('fat woman'), which were also classified as susceptible to cyberbullying and hidden.
WITHDRAWAL OF POLICIES
In a statement sent to the aforementioned medium, TikTok has reported that moderation policies for 'special users' have been modified by a new one that does not restrict the publications of these users but rather encourages interaction with the community.
"This approach was not intended at any time to be a long-term solution and although we had a good intention, we realized that it was not the right position," said a spokesman for the company.