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TikTok Issues Formal Apology to Black Creators After Censorship Claims

TikTok Issues Formal Apology to Black Creators After Censorship Claims

TikTok Issues Formal Apology to Black Creators After Censorship Claims

"Diversity is our strength. As a society, as an organization, as a platform."

byraffy

After being accused of unfairly silencing and censoring people of color, TikTok has issued both a formal statement and a video apology to the popular video app's community of Black creators.

@tiktok

To our community, a message from our CEO...

"Diversity is our strength. As a society, as an organization, as a platform," TikTok's new CEO (and former Head of Streaming at Disney) Kevin Mayer said in a recently-published statement addressing criticism that the platform removes social and political videos made by Black creators while being a breeding ground for anti-Black racism. "It has never been a more important time to support Black employees, users, artists, and our broader community. I am making this commitment from today, my Day 1." 

He continued: 

"Words can only go so far. I invite our community to hold us accountable for the actions we take over the coming weeks, months, and years. Black Lives Matter." 

According to BuzzFeed News, Black content creators have been voicing their issues with the app removing posts that use the #BLackLivesMatter hashtag for some time now. Last month, several TikTok users organized an online protest in response to the censorship of Black voices on TikTok. 

"We want you to know that we hear you and we care about your experiences on TikTok. We acknowledge and apologize to our Black creators and community who have felt unsafe, unsupported, or suppressed. We don't ever want anyone to feel that way. We welcome the voices of the Black community wholeheartedly," TikTok's US general manager Vanessa Pappas and director of creator community Kudzi Chikumbu said in an official statement on the company's website directly referencing a situation where it seemed like posts using the #BlackLivesMatter and #GeorgeFloyd were receiving no views. "On May 19, Black creators and allies took an important stance in changing their profile pictures and connecting on the platform to speak out against how they feel the Black community has been marginalized on TikTok. And at the height of a raw and painful time, last week a technical glitch made it temporarily appear as if posts uploaded using #BlackLivesMatter and #GeorgeFloyd would receive 0 views. This was a display issue only that widely affected hashtags at large, and powerful videos with the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag continued to be uploaded, viewed, and engaged with—in fact, videos with these hashtags have currently generated well over 2 billion views, which is a testament to their importance to and resonance among our community. Nevertheless, we understand that many assumed this bug to be an intentional act to suppress the experiences and invalidate the emotions felt by the Black community. And we know we have work to do to regain and repair that trust."

They continued: 

"Our platform exists to create joy and inspiration, and that is made better because of our diverse community of users, creators, partners, artists, and employees. It's important to us that nobody feels unwelcome, unheard, or unsafe on TikTok. We are inspired by our Black creators, artists, and partners who have touched so many people across the country and around the world. Without them, TikTok would not be the joyful and creative community we aspire to be."

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author avatar

Raffy Ermac

Digital Director, Out.com

Raffy is a Los Angeles-based writer, editor, video creator, critic, and digital director of Out Magazine. The former editor-in-chief of PRIDE, he is also a die-hard Rihanna and Sailor Moon stan who loves to write about all things pop culture, entertainment, and identities. Follow him on Instagram (@raffyermac) and Twitter (@byraffy), and subscribe to his YouTube channel

Raffy is a Los Angeles-based writer, editor, video creator, critic, and digital director of Out Magazine. The former editor-in-chief of PRIDE, he is also a die-hard Rihanna and Sailor Moon stan who loves to write about all things pop culture, entertainment, and identities. Follow him on Instagram (@raffyermac) and Twitter (@byraffy), and subscribe to his YouTube channel