(THE VERGE) Social video network TikTok apparently limited the reach of people with disabilities, including facial disfigurement and Down syndrome. According to Netzpolitik.org, which spoke with a source inside the company, the policy was supposed to protect users with a high risk of bullying. In practice, however, it apparently amounted to discrimination — and the problem was compounded by moderators who needed to make snap decisions about users’ physical and mental traits.
TikTok fame relies heavily on getting content promoted through TikTok’s algorithm. But Netzpolitik.org’s source alleges that TikTok made this difficult for people who might be bullied. One risk category meant that videos only appeared in the country where they were uploaded. Another, known as “Auto R,” stopped videos from hitting other users’ “For You” feed after hitting a certain view count. This tag might be applied to individual videos, but for a couple of dozen “special users,” it was supposedly the default.