The Human Rights Campaign’s TikTok account was suspended for two days after it posted in support of another TikTok user’s pro-LGBTQ+ video.
On Monday, the LGBTQ+ rights group wrote on Twitter explaining it had been suspended for a couple of days last week after it commented on a video protesting Florida’s “don’t say gay” law. The video in question showed a teenager driving past a sign welcoming people to the state while they yelled “gay!”
HRC posted “GAY” with hearts in yellow and blue, the organization’s colors. The comment received 2,000 likes before it was taken down and reported by other TikTok users, according to HRC. The group’s account was suspended on April 3 and the group was notified on April 4. HRC had initially been told that its account would be suspended until April 10, however, they were able to appeal.
“What message does it send to young people when we comment or post LGBTQ+ content and it’s deemed inappropriate and a violation of community guidelines?,” Ty Cobb, senior director of strategic initiatives at HRC, told The Advocate in a statement. “We’re fighting a battle for our lives. Elected officials are trying to censor our speech and restrict our access to healthcare and equal opportunity. Our need to communicate to our community and allies is more important than ever right now. Having our TikTok account suspended for two days means our ability to post educational, affirming content was restricted, which is nothing short of devastating.”
TikTok has a history of blocking LGBTQ+ content. In 2020, the company even apologized for censoring it. The apology followed a report released by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute indicating that terms like "gay," "lesbian," and "transgender" were restricted in several languages for global users wherever they were.
In an email to The Advocate, a TikTok spokesperson explained the company took action immediately after it knew of the issue with HRC.
"We restored the comment as soon as we were made aware of this error and will continue to provide ongoing training to help our moderators make consistent and accurate decisions," the spokesperson for the company said. "We are proud that LGBTQ+ community members choose to create and share on TikTok, and our policies seek to protect and empower these voices on our platform."