TikTok bans anti-LGBTQ+ content with community guidelines update

The popular social media app made the updates following pressure from charities and advocacy groups such as GLAAD and UltraViolet.

A person holds their phone with TikTok on the screen as the app updates its community guidelines.
Image: Unsplash

On February 8, 2022, as a part of Safer Internet Day, social media giant TikTok announced changes to its community guidelines which sees an array of anti-LGBTQ+ content being banned on the app. As a result of the updates, deadnaming and misgendering are officially prohibited, as too is content that “supports or promotes conversion therapy programs”.

TikTok explained that the new guidelines add “clarity on the types of hateful ideologies prohibited on our platform”, and Head of Trust and Safety, Cormac Keenan, added that “Though these ideologies have long been prohibited on TikTok, we’ve heard from creators and civil society organisations that it’s important to be explicit in our Community Guidelines.

“On top of this, we hope our recent feature enabling people to add their pronouns will encourage respectful and inclusive dialogue on our platform,” he stated.

The updates come following pressure from LGBTQ+ charity GLAAD, alongside UltraViolet, who made recommendations to the social media platform in 2021 as part of its Social Media Safety Index. Although the app is hugely popular among the queer community, at the time, GLAAD declared it as “effectively unsafe for LGBTQ users”.

After Tuesday’s announcement, CEO and President of GLAAD, Sarah Kate Ellis, commended TikTok for taking action to “prioritise LGBTQ safety”.

“When anti-transgender actions like misgendering or deadnaming, or the promotion of so-called ‘conversion therapy,’ occur on platforms like TikTok, they create an unsafe environment for LGBTQ people online and too often lead to real-world harm,” she stated.

“TikTok’s move to expressly prohibit this harmful content in its Community Guidelines and to adopt recommendations made in GLAAD’s 2021 Social Media Safety Index raises the standard for LGBTQ safety online and send a message that other platforms which claim to prioritise LGBTQ safety should follow suit with substantive actions like these.”

Clarity has also been offered from the app surrounding its policies on things like the promotion of dangerous acts and challenges, eating disorders, and misogyny.

© 2022 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.

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