TikTok has come forward and apologised for blocking LGBTQ+ hashtags and content across some countries.
Last week it was revealed TikTok was censoring LGBTQ+ content across its platform. The suppressed content included blocking hashtags and censoring depictions of homosexuality, as well as kissing or holding hands, and in some cases, prevented posts from LGBTQ+ users going viral.
TikTok’s director, Theo Bertram, the director of public policy in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa came clean to British lawmakers this Tuesday. He admitted the platform now only removed LGBTQ+ content when required to do so by law agencies or following government requests.
“I’m really sorry, we really got that wrong,” Bertram told a British parliamentary committee, according to Thomas Reuters Foundation.
Alongside LGBTQ+ content, other videos were also targeted and suppressed including posts from plus size and disabled users, however this was believed to be in an effort to minimise bullying across the video streaming app.
Since the policy was publicly revealed, TikTok have changed the regulation. Speaking on the issue, Bertram again apologised, stating it was a “terrible idea”.
Going forward, Bertram told the online harms and disinformation committee that changes will be made to the platform to avoid any similar issues in the future.
While an active effort has been put in place to prevent the curtailing of content, the social media platform will continue to follow government requests and law enforcement agencies in certain countries where LQBTQ+ content is deemed illegal or is openly condemned.
“I think the Russian law is terrible and our community does too […] But unfortunately we have to comply with legal requests in the countries that we operate,” he told Reuters.