Chinese Social Media platform TikTok laid out a series of actions on Monday in an effort to address criticisms that its algorithm is suppressing black creators on the app.
The actions include launching a “creator diversity council” in which the platform will aim at “recognising and uplifting the voices driving culture, creativity, and important conversations on the platform [itself]”. Continued in the blog post, TikTok says it will also reassess its moderation strategies, establish a new “user-friendly” appeals process, and develop a new creator portal for expanding communications and “opportunities for our broader creator community”.
TikTok says that it will “stand in solidarity with the Black community” and participate in “Black Out Tuesday.” Tuesday will be kept as a day of action against racial injustice planned by members of the music industry.
— Matt Nicholas (@mattnicholas) June 2, 2020
TikTok says it will shut down its Sounds page, turning off all playlists and campaigns “to observe a moment of reflection and action.”
The Verge writes that the platform has pledged a $3 million donation to non-profits that help the black community and a separate $1 million donation to address “racial injustice and inequality”. However, TikTok did not name any specific organizations in its blog.
“We appreciate being held accountable. We know that getting to a place of trust will take work, but we are dedicated to doing our part as we continue to foster a space where everyone is seen and heard,” the company says.
According to CNN, TikTok users say they will unfollow other users who did not support the movement, and black creators asked non-black allies to follow at least one new black creator. Shortly after, and at the height of protests across the country opposing police brutality, TikTok claimed that it suffered a “technical glitch” that made it appear as though videos uploaded under the #BlackLivesMatter and #GeorgeFloyd hashtags received zero views.
On Friday TikTok still appeared to be restricting the search results of certain hashtags that had to do with the riots occurring across America. Users could still use the tags, but their videos would not show up when searching for the tags.
TikTok was previously criticised for allegedly censoring videos by creators the platform deemed to be “vulnerable to cyberbullying” – users with autism or with facial features and body types perceived to be unattractive.