Safe Spaces

TikTok to Crack Down on Anti-Trans Bullying and Hate Speech

TikTok has announced updates to its community guidelines explicitly prohibiting anti-LGBTQ+ hate speech and ideology. The policy now specifies “deadnaming, misgendering, or misogyny as well as content that supports or promotes conversion therapy programs” as content not allowed on the platform.

TikTok’s head of trust and safety Cormac Keenan wrote, “Though these ideologies have long been prohibited on TikTok, we’ve heard from creators and civil society organizations that it’s important to be explicit in our Community Guidelines. On top of this, we hope our recent feature enabling people to add their pronouns will encourage respectful and inclusive dialogue on our platform.”

In bringing about these changes, TikTok consulted with GLAAD and gender justice group UltraViolet—both of whom have made significant efforts over the last year to get social media platforms to adopt these policies. Last November, UltraViolet penned an open letter detailing actionable steps social media companies can take to better protect their marginalized users. Both organizations also publish annual reports evaluating social media user safety—GLAAD’s Social Media Safety Index and UltraViolet’s Social Media Report Card.

“When anti-transgender actions like misgendering or deadnaming, or the promotion of so-called ‘conversion therapy,’ occur on platforms like TikTok, they create an unsafe environment for LGBTQ people online and too often lead to real world harm,” GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis said in a statement.

“TikTok’s move to expressly prohibit this harmful content in its Community Guidelines … raises the standard for LGBTQ safety online and sends a message that other platforms which claim to prioritize LGBTQ safety should follow suit with substantive actions like these.”

Bridget Todd, Communications Director at UltraViolet added, “TikTok has become a little safer for women, LGBQ, and trans people today. We applaud TikTok for responding effectively to our recommendations and implementing them into an updated, more protective user policy. Even so, it’s clear social media platforms have a long way to go across the board.”

After Twitter, TikTok is now the second major social media company to expressly prohibit misgendering and deadnaming. Facebook/Instagram, meanwhile, restricts conversion therapy to a lower priority tier content moderation. And last year, GLAAD and 19 other organizations called on YouTube to add misgendering and deadnaming to its hate speech policy, which the company has yet to do.

Along with this update, TikTok has also introduced policies to tackle suicide hoaxes, promotion of eating disorders, and to strengthen account security.

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