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TikTok Banned LGBTQ Content in Conservative Nations

TikTok Banned LGBTQ Content In Conservative Nations

Images of Pride celebrations and couples holding hands were censored in Turkey and other nations, The Guardian reports.

Newly revealed country-by-country guidelines for the TikTok show the video sharing service banned LGBTQ content in conservative nations, going as far as prohibiting images of same-sex couples holding hands.

The Chinese company has come under fire for censoring political speech deemed controversial in certain countries. An investigation by The Guardian found that Turkish guidelines restricted not only political content like anything on Kurdish separatism but also "intimate activities (holding hands, touching, kissing) between homosexual lovers."

The rules also flagged any promotion of Pride events or support for protecting the rights of gays. Any "reports of homosexual groups, including news, characters, music, tv show, pictures" were blocked on the platform.

Notably, Turkey in fact is a moderate Arab country when it comes to legal rights. The nation has not outlawed homosexuality like many Middle Eastern nations. But the guidelines also prohibit depictions of alcohol consumption in a nation where drinking is legal.

ByteDance, the company that owns TikTok, says these guidelines were retired in May in favor of letting local moderators subjectively censor content.

"Our platform has experienced rapid growth in Turkey and other markets, and as we grow we are constantly learning and refining our approach to moderation," reads a statement from TikTok.

"The referenced guidelines regarding LGBTQ content in Turkey are no longer in use, and we have since made significant progress in establishing a more robust localised approach," the statement continues. "However, we recognise the need to do more and we are actively working with local third parties and independent advisers to ensure our processes are appropriate."

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