79.9M Fans. Although what it takes to earn a spot on the “For You” section remains a mystery, the document reveals that it took very little to be excluded, all based on the argument that uploads by unattractive, poor, or otherwise undesirable users could “decrease the short-term new user retention rate,” as stated in the document.
Consider what the world of media would look like without The Intercept. The content moderation documents obtained by The Intercept Brasil and The Intercept contain indications that standards enforced on TikTok livestreams originate in China. 66M Fans. A “Personal live broadcast about state organs such as police office, military etc,” would knock your stream offline for three days, while documenting military or police activity would get you kicked off for that day (would-be protestors, take note). However, the TiKTok documents reviewed by The Intercept include a range of policies beyond those reported by Netzpolitik, involving among other things the suppression of content from poor, old, and “ugly” users.
Many TikTok rule breakers will likely never receive a satisfying explanation for their punishment, because the existence and contents of the fine-grained rules have been kept out of public view.
Behind a typical social network’s public-facing generic “Community Guidelines” are actual rules, sprawling documents that give moderators nuts and bolts instructions on what to delete and what to keep.
ByteDance, founded in 2012, has come under scrutiny by the U.S. government over its ties to the Chinese Communist Party and numerous reports that the app’s censorship tactics mirror those of Beijing; Sens. TikTok holds its users accountable to secret policies that, as on other digital platforms, attempt to dictate what is impermissible and how offending users are to be punished.
“Abnormal body shape,” “ugly facial looks,” dwarfism, and “obvious beer belly,” “too many wrinkles,” “eye disorders,” and many other “low quality” traits are all enough to keep uploads out of the algorithmic fire hose. One moderation document outlining physical features, bodily and environmental, deemed too unattractive spells out a litany of flaws that could be grounds for invisibly barring a given clip from the “For You” section of the app, where TikTok videos are funneled to a vast audience based on secret criteria. Gartner told The Intercept that TikTok’s moderation staff is “a combination” of staff employees and contractors, and that “Over the past year, we have established Trust and Safety hubs in California, Dublin and Singapore, which oversee development and execution of our moderation policies and are headed by industry experts with extensive experience in these areas.” Gartner did not address why the documents viewed by The Intercept were originally composed in Chinese. addison rae (@addisonre) on TikTok | 4.1B Likes. Chase Hudson (@lilhuddy) on TikTok | 1.4B Likes. One document, while in English, contains clunky phrasing suggestive of machine translation, as well as references to a Chinese language font embedded in the file itself, while the second contains large portions of both Chinese and English text. on about your day, ask yourself: How likely is it that the story you just read would have been produced by a different news outlet if The Intercept hadn’t done it? Chuck Schumer and Josh Hawley have both worked to limit TikTok’s use by government personnel, arguing that it presents a risk to national security. Furthermore, these documents contain no mention of any anti-bullying rationale, instead explicitly citing an entirely different justification: The need to retain new users and grow the app.