TikTok, the social media sensation du jour, has apparently been hobbling customers who’ve bodily disabilities. It did so in a misguided try to protect these individuals from bullying — heavy emphasis on the phrase “misguided.”

In line with a report from Netzpolitik, leaked paperwork reveal TikTok had particular guidelines in place for these with some seen or apparent type of incapacity or disfigurement. These customers embody consumer with “autism… Down syndrome… facial disfigurement… [and] disabled individuals or individuals with some facial issues resembling a birthmark, slight squint and and so forth.”

I say “seen or apparent” as a result of TikTok teams such people underneath the heading “a topic extremely weak to cyberbullying.” One other a part of the leaked doc obtained by Netzpolitik explains that posts from customers more likely to “incite cyberbullying” will probably be “allowed, however marked with danger tag 4.” Posts marked with this tag by moderators would solely be proven to customers from the uploader’s personal nation, and wouldn’t be added to TikTok‘s algorithmically sorted For You feed. So any customers with uncommon traits could be forcibly restricted of their attain — and for what TikTok perceives to be their very own good, no much less.

So… wow, there’s lots to unpack right here. For starters, saying an individual is more likely to “incite cyberbullying” by advantage of one thing that isn’t their fault and which may’t be modified is a few prime sufferer blaming. And the moderators are presupposed to make this worth judgment inside 30 seconds, in line with Netzpolitik’s nameless supply. How on earth are you presupposed to know an individual is on the autism spectrum after watching 30 seconds of them lipsyncing to Previous City Street? I’m certain somebody has a nasty remark loaded up of their web troll cannon able to go, however until the individual explicitly says they’re on the spectrum, a moderator would simply be going by what they’re pre-conceived notions of how such an individual seems or behaves.

This seems like one thing that you just’d accuse TikTok of in ignorance of how its algorithm works, besides TikTok‘s dad or mum firm ByteDance really acknowledged it. A spokesperson advised Netzpolitik that these guidelines had been supposed to guard weak customers from being cyberbullied, however had been “by no means supposed to be a long-term resolution” and that this blunt power method has since been altered. We’ve reached out to ByteDance to seek out out what the brand new guidelines entail.

TikTok‘s already obtained a bit a fame for, at greatest, “nannying” its customers. This normally takes the type of censoring customers who categorical sure political beliefs — see additionally, the make-up artist who was suspended for trying to name consideration to the Uyghur Muslim focus camps in China. Her account has since been reinstated and the suspension blamed on a “human moderation error.”

(through The Verge)

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