Alaa Elassar, CNN, May 20, 2020
TikTok users are changing their profile pictures to the Black power symbol to stand against censorship of Black creators.
The protest, branded the #ImBlackMovement, is taking place across the platform on Tuesday in honor of Malcolm X’s birthday. Black creators are urging non-Black allies to participate in the “Black out” by changing their profile pictures to the raised Black fist, unfollowing a TikTok user who does not support the movement, and following at least one new Black creator.
Lex Scott, the founder of Black Lives Matter Utah, founded the Black out movement when she posted a TikTok video on May 7 calling on creators to participate in the protest.
“I did this because Black creators are being silenced on TikTok and other social media platforms and I am fed up. Our videos are taken down and our accounts are banned when we speak against racism,” Scott told CNN.
“I want TikTok to change their policies when it comes to Black and brown creators. We should not be punished for speaking against racism. The accounts of actual racists should be taken down.”
TikTok admitted earlier to censoring posts by creators they considered susceptible to bullying based on their physical or mental conditions, the Guardian reported.
The app confirmed these instances of censorship, telling the Guardian they “implemented a blunt and temporary policy” in a misguided attempt to stop bullying on the platform.
By Tuesday morning, thousands of TikTok accounts had changed their profile photos to the Black power fist and posted videos under the hashtags, including #Blackvoicesheard, which reached 6 million views.
“Watching the entire feed filled with Black creators and artists is beyond emotional. This is powerful. Today is a moving day. It is beautiful beyond words,” Scott told CNN.