TikTok apologises after being accused of censoring black users
- ByteDance-owned TikTok blamed a display issue stemming from a technical glitch that affected a wide array of hashtags, including #BlackLivesMatter and #GeorgeFloyd
- The short video app operator said it would create a special council to amplify diverse voices as well as make donations to fight racial injustice and inequality in the US
Some TikTok users changed their profile pictures to a raised black fist symbolising black power, while urging others to unfollow users who didn’t support the protest over what one popular TikTok user called “the unfair censorship of black creators”.
“We acknowledge and apologise to our Black creators and community who have felt unsafe, unsupported, or suppressed,” Vanessa Pappas, TikTok US general manager, and Kudzi Chikumbu, director of creator community, wrote in a blog post.
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The company said it was not censoring posts and blamed a display issue stemming from a technical glitch that affected a wide array of hashtags. In reality, videos with the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag have generated more than 2 billion views, according to TikTok.
“We understand that many assumed this bug to be an intentional act to suppress the experiences and invalidate the emotions felt by the Black community,” Pappas and Chikumbu wrote. “And we know we have work to do to regain and repair that trust.”
TikTok said it would create a special council to amplify diverse voices and will donate US$3 million to non-profit organisations that help the black community and US$1 million to fight racial injustice and inequality in the US.
The company also said it would shut certain sound features on the app on Tuesday in solidarity with “Black Out Tuesday”, a protest by the music industry.
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