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TikTok Issues Apology After Being Accused Of Censoring Black Users, Calls It 'Technical Glitch'

TikTok Issues Apology After Being Accused Of Censoring Black Users, Calls It 'Technical Glitch'

Social medial platform TikTok, owned by the Chinese company ByteDance, was accused of censoring black users after posts with hashtags such as #BlackLivesMatter and #GeorgeFloyd were labeled as having zero views by the app.

What Happened

Explaining a technical “glitch," TikTok’s General Manager in the United States, Vanessa Pappas, and Director of Creator Community, Kudzi Chikumbu, said in a statement, “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. And we know we have work to do to regain and repair that trust.”

Some TikTok users had changed their profile pictures to raise a black fist, a symbol of black power, and had urged users to unfollow those who did not support the protest against TikTok’s censorship of Black creators, reported Fortune.

Pappas and Chikumbu wrote, “We acknowledge and apologize to our Black creators and community who have felt unsafe, unsupported, or suppressed.”

Why It Matters

According to Fortune, TikTok has a history of allegations of censorship, extending to suppression of posts made by anti-government protestors in Hong Kong, and to those by queer, disabled and overweight content creators.

TikTok says it is creating a special council to “amplify diverse voices” and will donate $3 million to nonprofits that help the black community and $1 million to combat racial injustice and inequality in the United States. 

The video-sharing app will also shut certain sound features on its sounds page in support of the “Blackout Tuesday” protest by the music industry.

TikTok is increasingly popular and has been downloaded 351 million times in the first three months of 2020, the app has registered more than 2 billion total downloads, a 100% increase over 2018 numbers.


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