The video platform known as “Tik Tok” looks like a really fun place to be at the outset. It’s filled with oftentimes hilarious videos under a minute long that you can get lost scrolling through for a chunk of time. The platform primarily appeals to people in younger crowds.
However, like many video platforms, it also carries with it a political bent, and as you may have guessed, there are views on there that don’t seem to be welcome. Judging by their latest ban, that includes pro-life views.
The group Live Action, a major pro-life group here in America, had their Tik Tok account banned. The organization signed up as a way to reach that aforementioned younger crowd, but recently found their account banned with no explanation.
Live Action released a statement detailing the ban:
“Live Action joined TikTok in 2019 as part of our ongoing efforts to reach Gen Z and Millennials with the truth about abortion and to continue to solidify our role as digital leaders in the nonprofit space. Tiktok has a larger active user base than Twitter, Pinterest, Reddit, and Snapchat. Its user base is nearly as big as Instagram. Our innovative, educational videos were hugely popular and grew our following to over 21k followers, quickly making Live Action the largest pro-life voice on the platform. Live Action’s videos shared baby photos and videos and highlighted the illogic of the pro-abortion movement. At the same time, TikTok allows pro-abortion accounts and videos to remain on the platform, videos like this that simulate brutal harm to preborn or born infants. Live Action appealed TikTok’s decision to remove one of our videos and within a half hour our account was completely removed on the platform. No more account, no more videos. This is blatant viewpoint discrimination and an egregious attempt to silence pro-life voices. TikTok should reinstate our account in full and allow all voices on the platform.”
Tik Tok does seem to allow certain messages on their platform geared toward younger crowds, including this one doctor who encouraged children to go see their doctors for STD and pregnancy tests without telling their parents. In fact, the video warns parents that they politely leave during these visits.
Nothing to see here just a doctor using TIK TOK to tell kids they don’t need their parents in the room with them when they go in for their appointments. #tiktokDocsGoneWild
— Talia (@talialikeitis) January 22, 2020
What you just witnessed is a grown woman with a medical degree telling 12-year-olds to talk to her about their sex life without their parent’s knowledge. This video was celebrated, while it would appear that videos that run afoul of China’s government are censored and banned. According to The Guardian, this isn’t necessarily a secret:
The guidelines divide banned material into two categories: some content is marked as a “violation”, which sees it deleted from the site entirely, and can lead to a user being banned from the service. But lesser infringements are marked as “visible to self”, which leaves the content up but limits its distribution through TikTok’s algorithmically-curated feed.
This latter enforcement technique means that it can be unclear to users whether they have posted infringing content, or if their post simply has not been deemed compelling enough to be shared widely by the notoriously unpredictable algorithm.
The bulk of the guidelines covering China are contained in a section governing “hate speech and religion”.
In every case, they are placed in a context designed to make the rules seem general purpose, rather than specific exceptions. A ban on criticism of China’s socialist system, for instance, comes under a general ban of “criticism/attack towards policies, social rules of any country, such as constitutional monarchy, monarchy, parliamentary system, separation of powers, socialism system, etc”.
The rules are nebulous and that appears to be by design. The Chinese government has been a strong advocate for abortion and even instituted a one-child policy that would result in coerced abortions on pregnant women. Pro-life talk would not be something China would smile on.