Too ugly to Tok: Tik-Tok actively suppresses videos of poor, ugly and overweight users

Too ugly to Tok: Tik-Tok actively suppresses videos of poor, ugly and overweight users

"You must be at least this pretty, to go viral..."

CultureMarch 18, 2020 By Will Brendza

If you haven’t gone viral on Tik-Tok yet, it might not have anything to do with how entertaining your videos are — it might be because you’re poor, fat and ugly.

Or, any one of those three, really. Apparently, this Chinese-owned application suppresses videos of people they deem unsightly, allowing only those videos of pretty people to get big and go viral. And it’s not the first time they’ve done something like this.

Tik-Tok has over 500 million users world-wide, they started in 2016 and have since become one of the most popular social media apps available today. People love this platform — simple, easy, viral videos you can get lost in. It’s certainly entertaining, and a great way to kill time. And it gives users their shot at 15 minutes of internet fame. Do something funny, cool, exciting or weird-enough and you might become an international internet hit.

But, as new information has revealed, not everyone’s chances of going viral are exactly the same on Tik-Tok. Moderators instructed their staff to prevent anyone with "abnormal body shape,” "ugly facial looks", or a "beer belly" from appearing on the “Popular For You” tab. They did so by shadow banning certain criteria that would get those videos removed.

So if you’ve been trying to viral on Tik-Tok and haven’t yet, and you’re putting out genuinely good videos, you might try your luck elsewhere. Those guys are discriminating, and they’re likely discriminating against you.

But don’t take it to heart. This isn’t be the first time that this company has been accused of censorship. And is that really surprising when you know this app is Chinese made? What’s more authentically Chinese than censorship? The last time people accused Tik-Tok of this, wasn’t so different, either: in December of 2019 they admitted to having suppressed posts by people they identified as “disabled.”

That is pretty fucked, right?

And, it doesn’t stop there, either. Because Tik-Tok has also been censoring content that impeded “national honour and interests.”

Which is to say, the Chinese can bury or remove any video from Tik Tok for whatever reason they deem legitimate. If it makes the communist state of China look bad, it’s probably coming down. If it shows someone who is “obese” or “too thin” (as their report stipulates) that’s going to get buried, too. If the video is taken inside a home that looks impoverished, it’s not going anywhere; or if your face doesn’t meet the Tik-Tok beauty standards, then you don’t stand much of a chance, either.

There’s nothing anyone can do about it, either. People can bitch and moan and complain about being buried by richer, better looking more talented people on Tik-Tok and about how censorship is un-American, unfair and unnecessary. But a Chinese company like Tik-Tok isn’t going to change its ways, because some homely Americans asked them to. They’ll continue to discriminate against the fat and the poor and the stupid until the cows come home — they’ve created a highly successful app, and people aren’t going to stop using it.