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TikTok Blocks Creators From Using ‘Black Lives Matter’ In Their Profiles

by : Niamh Shackleton on : 09 Jul 2021 16:41
TikTok Blocks Creators From Using 'Black Lives Matter' In Their ProfilesPA Images

TikTok has been forced to speak out after reportedly flagging people using ‘Black Lives Matter’ in their bios as ‘inappropriate content’.

Creators on the popular video-sharing app have found that several keywords and phrases have been blocked on TikTok, including ‘Black’ and ‘Black Lives Matter‘.

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One person to have noticed this is 23-year-old Ziggi Tyler, who discovered this while trying to update his bio last weekend.

TikTok (PA Images)PA Images

In several videos, Ziggi demonstrated via screen recordings to his 375,000 TikTok followers what happens when he tries to use certain phrases in his bio.

@ziggityler##greenscreenvideo I’m going live in 30 minutes to answer questions. Y’all need to get this message out. Please. ##fypシ ##fyp ##wrong ##justice♬ original sound – Ziggi Tyler
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In the clip, he shows that when he goes into the Creator Marketplace and writes that he was a supporter of white supremacy, the app allows him to have this. However, when he writes that he was a supporter of Black Lives Matter, he’s greeted with a notification that brands it as ‘inappropriate content’.

In a separate video, he attempts to write ‘supporting Black success’ in his bio – a phrase that brought up the same error message.

His videos calling out TikTok have since generated thousands of views, leading to TikTok issuing a statement explaining why this happened.

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As per Forbes, the social media platform said that the algorithm flagged the phrases because TikTok’s AI is programmed to flag bios that have the words ‘die’ in it, and Ziggi’s bio had the word ‘audience’ in it – which has ‘die’ within it.

Then, when Ziggi wanted to add ‘Black’ and ‘Black Lives Matter’ to his bio, the AI flagged this as potential hate speech because of the combination of the words ‘Black’ and ‘die’. For example, if someone wrote ‘die blackberries’ in their bio, this would have also been blocked.

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A TikTok spokesperson said in a statement:

Our TikTok Creator Marketplace protections, which flag phrases typically associated with hate speech, were erroneously set to flag phrases without respect to word order. We recognise and apologise for how frustrating this was to experience.

While TikTok has given an explanation as to why Ziggi’s bio attempts were blocked, it failed to explain why the TikToker’s content wasn’t sharable. As of Wednesday, July 7, his videos appeared to have had the Stitch and Duet functions disabled, Forbes reports.

TikTok denied that it turned off these features and insisted that only the creator themselves can disable them. However, Ziggi also denied turning them off.

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If you have been affected by any of the issues in this article and wish to speak to someone in confidence, contact Stop Hate UK by visiting their website www.stophateuk.org/talk

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Niamh Shackleton

Niamh Shackleton is a pint sized person and journalist at UNILAD. After studying Multimedia Journalism at the University of Salford, she did a year at Caters News Agency as a features writer in Birmingham before deciding that Manchester is (arguably) one of the best places in the world, and therefore moved back up north. She's also UNILAD's unofficial crazy animal lady.

Topics: Life, Black Lives Matter, Technology, TikTok, Viral

Credits

Forbes and 1 other
  1. Forbes

    TikTok Blocked Creators From Adding ‘Black’ And ‘Black Lives Matter’ To Bios

  2. TikTok/Ziggi Tyler

    @ziggityler