Science and Tech

TikTok accused of censoring trans people’s content, says they were removed because of ‘nudity and smoking’

Patrick Kelleher February 13, 2020
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TikTok trans content

TikTok (Chesnot/Getty)

Short-form video streaming platform TikTok is being accused of censoring videos made by trans people by removing and muting them.

The streaming platform claimed videos were deleted because they breached rules on smoking and nudity, however they could not explain why all videos were removed.

Three trans TikTok users said videos showing photos of their transitions had been deleted. They were later allowed to re-post them.

Clarissa Jacobo told BBC News that she had a video talking about her experience repeatedly taken down, saying she had deleted her account as she felt “defeated.”

TikTok accused of blocking trans people’s content before deleting anti-trans abuse.

“Nobody was seeing my content, nobody cared and there was nothing I could do,” she said.

“These apps censor LGBT creators who just want to spread positivity and help people but they can’t because nobody will be able to see it.”

Meanwhile, trans woman Reice Hodges said a video in which she challenged bullying on the platform was deleted before the abusive comments directed at her were removed.

“There are countless amounts of teenagers and adults who have reached out to me and thanked me for putting myself out there to be seen,” Hodges said.

These apps censor LGBT creators who just want to spread positivity and help people but they can’t because nobody will be able to see it.

“To block something that can bring awareness to the trans community, when we already have so much hate and disgust coming toward us – where else are we supposed to go?”

In a statement, TikTok said the video platform is “an inclusive space for positive and creative expression.”

“We categorically do not remove any content on the basis of expression of gender identity.

“We have a vibrant and diverse community on TikTok: there are nearly two billion views of content under #trans and over 2.1 billion views of content under #lgbtq.

“We are proud to be a platform for positive and creative expression for our diverse community of users.”

The platform has been accused of censoring LGBT+ content in the past.

This is not the first time TikTok has been accused of censoring LGBT+ content. Last month, a gay man hit out at the platform for removing a video of him kissing his boyfriend on New Year’s Eve.

The TikTok video was just a couple of seconds long and showed the couple sharing a kiss to the soundtrack of Frank Sinatra’s ‘New York, New York’ with a sticker that said “Happy New Year”.

But when Pasetsky received a notification that his post had been removed “because it’s a violation of the platform’s community guidelines”, he said that he “was flooded with feelings of shame and alienation”.

More: tiktok, Trans

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