TikTok Must Ban Videos That Mock Disabled People.

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I was appalled this morning to find out that TikTok are allowing people to create videos that mock disabled people. As a disabled women and a disability campaigner I knew this could not stand. Disabled people do not exist to be mocked and belittled. We are human beings with feelings who demand respect and inclusion. Respect and inclusion that TikTok is not showing us.

The newest trend on Tik Tok is called #AutismChallenge. In this challenge people behave and dance in stereotypical expectations of how an Autistic person will behave and dance. The videos also include instances of mocking physical disability as well.

This is hurtful, bullying, discriminatory, perpetuates harmful stereotypes around disability, and negatively impacts disabled people’s lives. TikTok is allowing these people to continue to upload these hurtful and harmful videos and they have to stop.

Last year, TikTok's discriminatory practices came to light in a leaked documents that showed instructions for moderators to limit the reach of disabled people's videos. TikTok's reputation around disability and discrimination is abysmal. This #AutismChallenge is the next step in maintaining this blatant ableism.      

This ableism has to be stopped.

By you signing this petition you can help me put pressure on TikTok to change their discrimination guidelines and ban the #AutismChallenge videos and any other bullying hashtag challenges that might arise in the future. 

I understand that a lot of people who are taking part in this challenge do not understand the consequences of their actions. I understand that a majority of TikTok users are teens and lack the disability awareness to make better decisions around whether to do this challenge or not. This is why I do the work that I do in schools, to build disability awareness and allyship.

It is also why guidelines and rules around disability and discrimination are needed on platforms like TikTok, to let users know that these videos are not appropriate. Guidelines that clearly state that videos like the #AutismChallenge are discriminatory and wrong.

There is precedence for social media platforms to create and enforce guidelines. Twitter and Facebook, in recent years, have addressed the issues they had regarding disability discrimination. The head of FB's UK Public Policy stated that "disabled people were considered a 'protected group' under its protocols..." And more recently, Twitter made changes to prohibit "posts that dehumanise people with disabilities, with a new policy that pledging to remove such content." 

If global platforms such as Twitter and Facebook can make positive change to their disability discrimination guidelines then why can't the global platform of TikTok? Let us take our people power to TikTok, let us force them to address the issues that this challenge creates and to put in place discrimination policies that really protect disabled people from bullying and mocking.