TikTok is the fastest growing social media in the world with more than 500 million active users. That’s not surprising at all as you may have seen at least one TikTok video per day despite not using the app.
However, this Chinese mobile application has also been subject to some controversies. Just recently, a report from the American publication, The Intercept reveals that TikTok deliberately prevents users with “ugly facial looks”, or “abnormal body shapes” or those videos taken in “slums ” or “dilapidated housing” in appearing in their most viewed “For You” section.
TikTok has this “Ugly Content Policy” where the said document identifies “ugly facial look” as person with deformed face, lacks front teeth, or has too many wrinkles, and alike.
Meanwhile, “abnormal body shape” pertains to people who are too thin, obese or even those with a beer belly. According to the guide, if a person’s look or shooting environment is not good, the video will be much less attractive and is not worthy to be recommended to new users.
The said document also bars videos from people who appear to be poor. These places are slums, rural areas, or dilapidated housing. The company rationalized that it is not appropriate for new users for being “less fancy and appealing”.
A representative confirmed to The Intercept that such policies existed but said that those are no longer in effect. Furthermore, defending that the directives’ intention was to prevent any form of cyberbullying.
This guideline is not something new. In 2019, a leaked document showed that TikTok prevented posts from LGBTQ users as well as users with disabilities to appear in the same section. In a separate guide, TikTok was revealed to have banned religious and political content including anti-Chinese posts.
Regardless of TikTok’s various controversies, it remained one of the most popular mobile phone applications and the number of users is rapidly growing.
What do you think of this? Do you think this is just proper?