TikTok Admits to Restricting LGBTQ Hashtags in Some Countries

Thursday September 10, 2020

TikTok is admitting to restricting some LGBTQ-related hashtags in countries where the video app is available as part of its "localized" approach to moderation, the BBC reports.

According to a report by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute think tank, a number of LGBTQ hashtags were "shadow-banned" in countries like Bosnia, Jordan and Russia — countries that have anti-LGBTQ laws. The BBC writes that "shadow-banning" means that it "limits the discovery of content without indicating that a particular hashtag is on a ban list."

TikTok said it restricted the LGBTQ hashtags to comply with local laws. According to the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, some hashtags that were not linking to content include "gay" in Russian and Arabic, "I am a lesbian" and "I am gay" in Russian, and "transgender" in Arabic.

The BBC reports that while the company restricted some of the words and phrases to comply with local laws, other hashtags were limited because they were primarily used to find porn.

"It added that some English phrases and some compound phrases in Arabic had been moderated by mistake, and that it had fixed the issue," the BBC adds of TikTok. "And it said some of the hashtags reported by the ASPI did not reveal any content because they had never been used by a video-maker on TikTok."

TikTok went on to say that it was "deeply committed to inclusivity."

Comments on Facebook