In a Tuesday blog post, TikTok has announced a plan to remove hateful posts on the video-based social media platform.
The company will start cracking down even more on anti-LGBTQ+ content, white supremacist and Nazi content, and videos that spread falsehoods about Jewish people, Muslims, and other minority groups.
“As part of our efforts to prevent hateful ideologies from taking root, we will stem the spread of coded language and symbols that can normalise hateful speech and behaviour,” the blog post read.
When it comes to anti-LGBTQ+ content, that now includes videos that promote harmful and discredited practices like conversion therapy, where LGBTQ+ people are encouraged to “pray away the gay” or undergo electroshock therapy to "turn" them straight and cisgender.
The Trevor Project has released a statement on the new guidelines, saying, “The Trevor Project is thankful to see TikTok ban content that promotes the dangerous and discredited practice of conversion therapy,” said Sam Brinton, the LGBTQ+ group's vice president of advocacy and government affairs. “We know from our research that conversion therapy is strongly associated with greater rates of attempting suicide, so it is imperative to protect LGBTQ youth from this misleading, harmful, and outright fraudulent content on social media.”
TikTok maintained that, while it already removes Nazi content, it felt the need to enlarge the ban "to remove neighbouring ideologies, such as white nationalism, white genocide theory, as well as statements that have their origin in these ideologies, and movements such as Identitarianism and male supremacy.” Identitarianism is a far-right ideology preaching that Europeans and people of European descent deserve their own culture and land excluding all people of color.
The platform will also take action to remove videos that contain “misinformation and hurtful stereotypes about Jewish, Muslim and other communities.” According to the blog post, this includes “misinformation about notable Jewish individuals and families who are used as proxies to spread antisemitism.”
White supremacy, anti-Semitism, xenophobia, and neo-Nazi ideologies have all been on the rise since Donald Trump was elected president in 2016, and many of these hateful communities have thrived on the internet. Platforms like TikTok, Reddit, Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook have been increasingly popular ways for these ideologies to spread.
This new move is part of a positive trend of social media companies deplatforming hateful ideologies. TikTok recently banned content promoting the antisemitic QAnon conspiracy theory, a move already made by YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook.