Just when it seemed like we couldn’t get any more bad news, we have found that TiK Tok has been caught red-handed yet again.
If you have ever downloaded the app and scrolled through your public feed, you may notice that a majority of the posts have a few things in common. They involve either rich or attractive people.
After Intercept did some investigating they found some crucial information in some files that described a screening policy for which posts went viral vs. which posts don’t. TiK Tok did not want to see any “overweight,” “ugly,” or “poor” people on its platform.
“TikTok spokesperson Josh Gartner told The Intercept that “most of” the livestream guidelines reviewed by The Intercept “are either no longer in use, or in some cases appear to never have been in place,” but would not provide specifics.
Regarding the policy of suppressing videos featuring unattractive, disabled, or poor users, Gartner stated that the rules “represented an early blunt attempt at preventing bullying, but are no longer in place, and were already out of use when The Intercept obtained them.”
Sources indicated that both sets of policies were in use through at least late 2019 and that the livestream policy document was created in 2019. Gartner would not explain why a document purportedly aimed at “preventing bullying” would make zero mention of bullying, nor why it offers an explicit justification of attracting users, not protecting them.” [The Intercept]
As reported by The Intercept, Josh Gardner stated that the policies have not been in use since early in the app’s release, but evidence shows that they have been active up until late 2019 at the latest. Unfortunately, changing these clear prejudice policies could be complicated.
Tik Tok is not an American based app and won’t be subject to the same laws and other apps under that umbrella. The rules that the app is enforcing are actually legal within the Chinese communist government.
At this point, people should think about the ethics involved in this app. No social network supergiant is perfect, but it seems like every week, there is something that makes Bytedance and its subsidiaries seem even more untrustworthy.
The world would delete the app from their phones tomorrow, but hopefully, some awareness can be brought to the public’s attention.
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