Social video network TikTok is under scrutiny limiting the reach of users with disabilities. According to the German digital rights site “Netzplitik” TikTok’s practice of downranking, moderating and prioritizing the contents has been questionable. Their policy has limited the reach of disabled users including people with facial disfigurement, Down syndrome and other issues.
What’s worse, TikTok has also included fat and queer people in the list of disabled people which is again highly objectionable. As TikTok’s new policy suggests, the contents uploaded by these people are limited for access and allowed to stay in the country of their origin. Also, some of these contents are removed or down ranked making it not visible for others. This is considered as an unfair attempt made by the company towards the disabled users by preventing their videos from getting uploaded, viral and stays there until they are liked.
TikTok defends shady moderation practice
TikTok has stated that this step has been taken with the purpose to protect disabled people. They consider that these videos bring disabled people vulnerable to bullying, negative comments and other issues which may lead to negative outcomes. Therefore, the action has been taken by applying the “Auto R” function which limits the reach of the disabled people from reaching out to the more people on the net.
Netzpolitik has counter-attacked saying that down-ranking or removing the web contents of disabled people is not a permanent solution to the problem of bullying and vulnerability that has been claimed by the TikTok. Instead, the other steps could have been taken in favor of anti-bullying and harassment through the development of anti-bullying policies and in-app protections which the company is completely capable of applying. Thus the attempts made by the TikTok are the outcome of misjudgment and inefficiencies which need to be removed immediately.
TikTok accused of illegally harvesting data
The Chinese version of TikTok is under scanner by the US Government which has observed an additional feature in the app which allows the Chinese users to upload the image of an American citizen and find all the data concerned. US Government doubts the intentions and wants it to be removed immediately. The Guardian has also stated that TikTok is enforcing policies that are directed by the Chinese Government, meant to restrict certain types of contents and speech that could bring out truth statements and conditions and affect the popularity of the government.