TikTok has adopted a two-tiered approach to content moderation that gives preferential treatment to more popular accounts, such as those of celebrities and VIPs.
The moderation process is affected by whether a high-profile account has a “creator label” attached, according to a September 2021 recording of a meeting with TikTok’s Trust and Safety team acquired by Forbes. Accounts with the label would have received it due to having 5 million or more followers and were moderated differently than users with less than 5 million, according to the recording.
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“We don’t want to treat these users as … like any other accounts. There’s a bit more leniency, I’d say,” one employee said.
A second person, identified as a consultant from Booz Allen Hamilton, claimed that this corroborated with what they had been told about TikTok’s content moderation by other employees. The employee “was pretty blunt that … a famous person could post content and I could post content, and if they were both inappropriate, the famous person’s would be able to stay up,” the consultant said.
“TikTok is not more lenient in moderating accounts with more than 5 million followers,” a spokesperson for the company told Forbes.
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The company has been scrutinized for its internal processes and relationship with China, which is home to its parent company. TikTok’s chief operations officer appeared before Congress last week, where she evaded questions about the company’s operations and relationship with China.