Tik Tok tries to combat bullying, suppresses bullied groups from platform

Hey Social Media …

TikTok pulled a very Scumbag-Steve move recently, admitting that in an effort to curb bullying on its platform, it had asked moderators to flag accounts from people who “looked like the type of person others might want to bully” and then suppressed those accounts. #victimshaming

Via Slate: “TikTok, a social network video app with more than 1 billion downloads globally, admitted Tuesday to a set of policies that had suppressed the reach of content created by users assumed to be “vulnerable to cyberbullying.” As examples of users “susceptible to bullying or harassment,” the policy listed people with facial disfigurement, autism, Down syndrome, and “Disabled people or people with some facial problems such as birthmark, slight squint and etc.”

The admission came after the German site Netzpolitik reported that TikTok asked moderators to watch 15-second videos and decide if the creator looked like the type of person others might want to bully. If so, moderators were instructed to add flags to the accounts of these “vulnerable” users. These flags would stop their videos from being shown to audiences outside their home countries and, in some cases, would even prevent their videos from appearing in other users’ feeds. A list of flagged users obtained by Netzpolitik included people with and without disabilities, whose bios included hashtags like #fatwoman and #disabled or had rainbow flags and other LGBTQ identifiers.”

Why it’s hot:

Loss of trust: Social media plays a roll in both exacerbating and alleviating many social problems, including the bullying epidemic, but when those at the helm display their ignorance coupled with a reluctance to curb abusive users, trust is diminished.

Lack of control (or willingness): One more chapter in social media’s terrible track record of encouraging the worst parts of humanity and then exposing just how inept they are at controlling malicious activity on their platforms.

Source: Slate

Twitter takes stronger lead against bullying

Twitter has quietly rolled out a new ‘timeout’ feature to temporarily punish abusive Tweeters (ahem) from being able to post for a 12-hour period. “Twitter is not simply putting people in timeout for using specific words. A company spokesperson said that its teams look at an account’s behavior as opposed to simply language to determine if it’s being abusive,” according to the story.

Full story on Tech Crunch

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why It’s Hot
Social media has to balance free speech and harassing behavior. Critics have argued that most of them (including Twitter) have not taken a stronger stand. We’ve learned a lot of post-election lessons about fake news, echo chambers and egomaniacal bullying. Offenders may threaten to leave the platform, but more than likely they’ll just begin to curb their behavior and made cyberspace a less depressing place to spend time.