TikTok under fire after admitting it restricts some international LGBT hashtags

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09/12/2020

Social media and entertainment giant TikTok have acknowledged that it restricts LGBT-related hashtags following a report published by a research team in Australia. A report by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) said that many LGBT hashtags were ‘shadow-banned’ (limits the discovery of content without indicating that a particular hashtag is on a ban list) in Bosnia, Jordan and Russia. Explaining their decision behind the shadow bands, TikTok said: ‘We believe that accountability and transparency are essential to facilitating trust with our community. As part of this, we’ve committed to making our moderation policies, algorithm, and data security practices available to experts, which no other company in our space has been willing to do.’ However, one TikTok user living in South East Asia told BBC News that while they were disappointed that their gender identity was being categorised as inappropriate in their native language, they knew the ways around the bans and frequently used them. The source added: ‘That’s just part of what being LGBT in 2020 is.’

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