TikTok bans misogyny and misgendering

People face many kinds of attacks online, and one of these is called gendered and sexualised disinformation. Billions of people around the world use social media to connect, debate, learn, and share. Social media can also be an important place to address social injustices. For instance, women from all over the world used social media platforms and #metoo to expose the violence, abuse, and harassment they face offline. TikTok has taken up the responsibility to ban any content related to misogyny and misgendering to ensure safety and a sense of wellbeing for users.

Updating community guidelines

TikTok has more than one billion monthly users. It has announced that it is updating its community guidelines to make the app a safer place for queer people and women, by banning misgendering, misogyny as well as conversion therapy from its platform. These guidelines were put in place to support the well-being of the LGBTQ+ community, and to enhance the integrity of the platform.

Enforcing the ban

Content containing anti-LGBTQ commentary, including deadnaming( the practice of using a trans person’s birth/ former name) is banned. TikTok characterized the changes as adding clarity in outlining the types of hateful ideologies prohibited on the platform. TikTok said these types of posts won’t surface on users’ For You pages, which recommend content based on past views. Any offensive post will be removed swiftly, before circulating.

Being explicit

Such content had already been prohibited. The updated community guidelines have been put forward due to the fact that creators and civil society organizations have stated that it is important to be explicit about the platform’s community guidelines. The app has recently added a feature which allows users to add pronouns to their profiles.

Removal of  content that promote eating disorders

The adjusted guidelines clamp down on disordered eating as well, althoughTikTok stated that it was already removing content that promotes eating disorders. The decision to remove the promotion of disordered eating is a product of conversations with experts. Many are now recognizing that individuals can experience and engage in unhealthy eating patterns without having an eating disorder diagnosis.

Removal of videos

About 1% of all uploaded videos on TikTok– more than 91 million videos– were removed during the third quarter of 2021, because they violated the guidelines. Of all videos removed from July to September, about 1.5% were removed due to hateful behavior, which includes hate speech on the basis of race, sexual orientation, and gender.

Taking potshots at misogyny

Some accounts on TikTok are already taking potshots at misogyny. Lilly Brown and her co-host present a mock-podcast on TikTok, where the two women playfully and cleverly insult men’s hair and values and ask questions like, ‘Are men too emotional?’ It is a subtle critique of what is typically seen in podcasts and steamed videos, including blatant misogyny.

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