TikTok prevented its creators from writing “Black Lives Matter” in the bio


The fault was a little (or too) careful algorithm, according to the social network, but the problem should now be solved

(Photo: Unsplash)

For TikTok, inserting references to the Black Lives Matter movement in their profile is “inappropriate“. It may sound absurd, but that’s what some creators of the popular short video app reported last week. However, there is an explanation.

The comedian Ziggi Tyler was the first to notice the problem while trying to update his bio in the TikTok Creator Marketplace, the place for the app to connect creators with sponsors. Tyler posted several clips on his account showing that whenever he tried to edit his bio to include phrases like Black Lives Matter, “Pro-Black” O “Black success“, TikTok said his biography contained content”inappropriate”And that it could not be updated.

Tyler replaced the word “nero” with “White”In each of the sentences, showing as TikTok did not report his profile even though it included expressions like “I support white supremacy“Or terms like”pro-white”.

The platform denied that there was a general problem and blamed some improvements to be made in the Marketplace. The reporting of these phrases, however, produced a temporary suspension that prevented any creator from changing their bio.

The company then apologized for the incident and provided a more comprehensive explanation. “Our TikTok Creator Marketplace protections, which mark phrases typically associated with hate speech, have been mistakenly set up to mark phrases without respecting word order”he said a Gizmodo a spokesperson for TikTok. The social network added that its team has corrected this error and clarified that Black Lives Matter does not violate its policies.

The TikTok algorithm, according to the same company, would have identified the word “the(death, to die) in the term “atthence” (“public”), Which appeared in Tyler’s profile. The proximity of the word “black“And the letters that form”the”Would have suggested to the artificial intelligence that it was a hate speech content towards people of color. TikTok also pointed out that its algorithm would draw attention to any combination of the words “the” e “black”. If they were both included in someone’s Creator Marketplace bio, they would have been reported as inappropriate.

While the platform’s explanation this time may seem convincing, it is not the first case where black creators clash with the app. During the Black Lives Matter protests that escalated last year, several creators they stated that TikTok was blacking out content about George Floyd’s death, which the company later attributed to a “technical problem”.


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