Tiktok Explicitly Calls Out White Nationalism, White Genocide Theory, and Male Supremacy as Hate Speech
Chris Stokel-Walker, Business Insider, October 21, 2020
TikTok has strengthened its community guidelines to better tackle coded language and symbols that help spread hate speech.
The company announced in a blog post on Wednesday morning that it “will stem the spread of coded language and symbols that can normalize hateful speech and behavior.”
The announcement comes shortly after TikTok joined the European Commission’s Code of Conduct on Countering Illegal Hate Speech Online.
The company says it will address the spread of white nationalism, white genocide theory, Identitarianism (an anti-immigration movement spreading in parts of Europe and elsewhere), and male supremacy.
The app, which was criticized in August by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), an organization devoted to tackling anti-Semitism and hate, has faced issues with white supremacists and nationalists using coded messages to perpetuate their beliefs.
TikTok also said it would be taking “further action” to remove misinformation and hurtful stereotypes about Jewish, Muslim and other communities, including misinformation about prominent Jewish people, who are often subject to anti-Semitism.
However, the app’s internal content moderation policies, used by those policing posts, already guards against this. A version of TikTok’s content moderation policies, dating from late 2019 and seen by Business Insider, encourage moderators to delete “content depicting stereotype of a protected or identifiable group” under its hate speech section.
At the same time, TikTok is also beefing up its response to anti-LGBTQ+ content, including any videos that promote conversion therapy.
TikTok declined to provide examples of the type of content it would be taking down as a result of the updated policies. Its announcement comes a week after Facebook announced it would ban Holocaust denial content, after the site’s CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, confirmed his “thinking has evolved.”
The app says it is also introducing more nuance to its content to allow reclaiming of previously contentious words and phrases.
“Language previously used to exclude and demean groups of people is now being reclaimed by these communities and used as terms of empowerment and counter-speech,” the company said.