In today’s incredibly fucked news, TikTok has been exposed for telling its mods to leave out videos from the ‘For You’ page if the users were ugly, poor, fat or disabled.
Yeah, for real.
Hm stealing music, stealing creators videos without credit, profiting off small artists, literally promoting the creepiest pedophilic dancing ive ever seen and now suppressing posts from “ugly, poor, or disabled” ppl – what a great company! Keep up the good work @tiktok_us 🤪🤪 https://t.co/QCnbZ06mp7
— ameera belle (@barebonesbelle) March 16, 2020
In case you aren’t on TikTok (look, same), basically there’s a ‘For You’ page which is where you spend most of your time on the app.
It curates a bunch of (seemingly) random videos and you basically just scroll through the infinite content until you’re drowning in the abyss. It’s similar to an Instagram feed of sorts, except it’s not a feed you’ve chosen by following accounts – it’s totally curated by TikTok, and it’s your first point of contact with the app.
People usually aspire to get onto the ‘For You’ page because it means your video gets exposed to the entire TikTok platform, allowing even the most rookie user to garner millions of views. Initially it sounds really cool, as you don’t need a follower count for exposure.
Except… well, it’s not nearly that nice. Now we know mods are supposed to curate a very specific type of person onto the ‘For You’ page. Specifically, no one that appears to be poor, ugly, fat or disabled.
“Abnormal body shape,” “ugly facial looks,” dwarfism, and “obvious beer belly,” “too many wrinkles,” “eye disorders,” and many other “low quality” traits are all enough to keep uploads out of the algorithmic fire hose – for you.
— Monish (@moenichedee) March 16, 2020
In documents released by The Intercept, users who have an “abnormal body shape (not limited to: dwarf, acromegaly)” or who are “chubby … obese or too thin” or have “ugly facial looks or facial deformities” should be excluded from the ‘For You’ page.
That’s not even all the body requirements, and on top of that there’s also rules about the user’s surroundings.
The list also includes people who have a “shabby or dilapidated” shooting environment, because it’s “less fancy and appealing.”
The document listed the reason for these absolutely terrible rules as: “if the character’s appearance is not good, the video will be much less attractive, not worthing [sic] to be recommended to new users.”
Considering that the teenage years are your most insecure and impressionable ones, this is pretty fucked.
Not only are these rules incredibly awful in terms of body positivity, they’re also classist (excluding “shabby” rooms) and ableist, literally excluding anyone that even ‘looks’ disabled.
In the world’s worst excuse ever, TikTok claims that these rules are in place to protect users from bullying, because if these vulnerable users get attention it might be the wrong kind.
I just… WTF. There’s so much wrong with this. First of all, the assumption that anyone who doesn’t fit TikTok’s ridiculous and awful beauty standards is going to get bullied is incredibly offensive? As if there is inherently something wrong with anyone who deviates from some artificial, corporate-made standards. As if it’s a normal assumption to bully poor/disabled/’ugly’ people?!
Lizzo CALLED it https://t.co/Cj9RFKt35C
— Kerry Flynn 🐶 (@kerrymflynn) March 16, 2020
TikTok is being super paternalistic and patronising with that shit excuse, and I doubt anyone’s buying it. The truth of the matter is that TikTok clearly has offensive, outdated, discriminative views that are incredibly harmful to the teenagers that make up most of its platform. Considering that your teenage years are your most insecure and impressionable ones, this is pretty fucked.
The question remains on whether TikTok will actually face consequences for this BS, but honestly, it’s not looking likely.
Image Sources: Twitter, TikTok