Demand Tiktok Crack Down on Anti-LGBTQ+ Rhetoric and Hate Speech

Demand Tiktok Crack Down on Anti-LGBTQ+ Rhetoric and Hate Speech

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Devin Runyon started this petition to Tiktok and

TikTok, the most popular social media platform of today’s time, has a very big anti-LGBTQ+ issue. TikTok has been plagued with anti-LGBTQ+ content and just general hate speech. It has become such a problem that when LGBTQ+ creators and allies post pro-LGBTQ+ videos, they often face suppression from the app, video deletions, and/or bans. And when LGBTQ+ creators and allies report content with vile anti-LGBTQ+ behavior, they are met with silence, as the app finds that there are “No violations found”. Things need to change.

On a social media platform that holds about 1.1 billion monthly active users, 2.6 billion worldwide downloads, available in 154 countries worldwide (and 75 different languages), TikTok is home to an extensive diversity of people. Generation Z (those born in 1997 and beyond) makes up 60% of all TikTok users. TikTok also brings in somewhere in the ballpark of $500 million in revenue.

TikTok has publicly announced and ran promotions for its support in the fight for LGBTQ+ rights during pride month for the last two years. So this begs the question, if they have so much power and reach, and they say they care about LGBTQ+ folks, why are they still allowing hateful videos (some of which request the death of LGBTQ+ individuals) to run rampant on their app?

And equally as despicable, why are they choosing to silence creators that bring attention to these hateful “troll” accounts? Because that’s what it boils down to, people choose to hide under anonymous accounts to spew their hate and disgust with the progression of human rights.

There are videos that have been reported hundreds of times calling for the death of LGBTQ+ community members, or threatening violence to them that are still active videos, and have been for months!

There is a sad fact that the TikTok algorithm will actually start showing anti-LGBTQ+ videos on  the homophobic user’s ‘For You’ page, meaning they are facilitating and promoting the organizations of hate groups.

In a report from Media Matters, it found that liking even one anti-LGBT+ video can lead to a barrage of other homophobic content being added to an user’s ‘For You’ page. The watchdog tested this by clicking ‘Like’ on one anti-LGBTQ+ video. The report states that TikTok “almost instantly began recommending more”.

The report added: “As we liked similar videos, the ‘For You’ page became progressively tailored to almost exclusively anti-LGBTQ content. In each case, this content was placed on the ‘For You’ page and required no additional searching.”

 

Effective change needs to happen! Period. TikTok and those responsible under the ByteDance umbrella need to make changes. Whether that be through the dedication of more employees to moderate and review reported videos, implementing more or better filtering algorithms or software, or creating community “Moderator” titles where users could help TikTok moderate content, something has to change. Serious attention needs to be drawn to this paramount problem.

Two direct actions we need to have addressed by TikTok and others responsible at ByteDance are:

1) Address the issue

2) Formulate a plan to stop this from continuing

In conclusion, TikTok taking charge and enacting policy would demonstrate to women, ethnic minorities, and members of the LGBTQ+ community that they are valued in society. More importantly, removing hate speech from social media sites should improve the level of public discourse in these arenas, as those who were previously victimized will begin to feel more comfortable participating in discussions online.

 

Sources and more information:

Dissertation entitled: Hate Speech in Social Media: An Exploration of the Problem and Its Proposed Solutions

Written by Caitlin Elizabeth Ring

https://scholar.colorado.edu/downloads/n870zr009

News articles:

https://www.cbsnews.com/video/tiktok-anti-lgbtq-homophobic-videos/

https://www.pinknews.co.uk/2021/05/22/tiktok-media-matters-report-anti-lgbt-homophobia-transphonbia-algorithm/

Numbers and statistics:

https://wallaroomedia.com/blog/social-media/tiktok-statistics/

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At 2,500 signatures, this petition is more likely to get picked up by local news!