The ‘Black Lives Matter movement has been one of the most powerful movements in recent times, but that does not mean it didn’t face its own share of problems. There have been numerous instances where the words of the Black community have been censored, and many social media apps have been called out for being racist and downright unfair. And now, it has come to light that viral video sharing platform TikTok flagged phrases like “Black”, “Black support”, and “Black Lives Matter”, making it impossible for creators on the newly launched Creator Marketplace, from mentioning such words in their bio.
Unfair Treatment, Or Actual Glitch?
The news, which Forbes first covered, relies on the experience of one Ziggi Tyler, a Black influencer from Chicago. Tyler was apparently trying to update his bio on Marketplace, a platform that allows creators to interact with sponsors easily. However, he soon realised that the platform might not be as friendly to diversity as it seems.
Meanwhile, TikTok has claimed that the algorithm of the content moderation policy on Creator Marketplace is still undergoing evolution, despite having being launched a year ago. So, the problem that Tyler faced was actually a fault in the AI. The company eventually rectified the fault, but not before it had extended to the whole Marketplace community, preventing anyone from updating their bios. However, even after the correction, the service is still not allowing any bio changes.
At the same time, the platform has also tried to give a possible explanation as to why the words in Tyler’s bio were flagged as inappropriate. It has said that since Tyler had included the word “audience” in what they wrote, the AI misunderstood it to be a bio containing the word “die”. As for the “Black Lives Matter”, TikTok further offered that phrases including the word “Black” have been fed to the AI as possible instances of hate speech. All in all, TikTok says that any combination of the words “Black” and “die” would invite a flag.
Just One of Many
Following the incident, which Tyler had described as “very odd, very strange, and very frustrating”, a spokesperson for TikTok has apologized for the experience.
This is just one among many cases of prejudice against the Black community and apparent hostility towards the “Black Lives Matter” movement. Social platforms have been accused, and the public unrest of this differential treatment continues to rise.