TikTok, the popular video-sharing app, admitted to censoring posts from users it identified as disabled, fat or LGBTQ+ as a way to mitigate cyberbullying. This information was made public by Netzpolitik.org, who talked to a source inside the company and obtained private documents from TikTok. According to the findings, the company applied automatic restrictions to users who were “susceptible to bullying or harassment based on their physical or mental condition,” including, “facial disfigurement, autism, Down syndrome, or disabled people or people with some facial problems.”
A follow-up response by TikTok said, “Early on, in response to an increase in bullying on the app, we implemented a blunt and temporary policy. While the intention was good, the approach was wrong and we have long since changed the earlier policy in favor of more nuanced anti-bullying policies and in-app protections.” Netzpolitik.org said that the rules were implemented as recently as September of this year.