If you browse the recommended posts page on the app, it’s pretty much guaranteed that you’ll see someone who falls under the named categories from the article (queer, fat, disabled). They’re almost always showered with support and positivity in the comment sections.
This is actually clever. It allows the person to use local laws and local policing and even local social constructs. It would actually work.
> For people with an actual or assumed disability, this means that instead of reaching a global audience of one billion, their videos reached a maximum of 5.5 million people.
This sentence is sad.
But in browsing TikTok I've met several people with Tourette's and learned about their lives. The majority of them whistle and don't use many profanities and this was a revelation to me. Also a fair number of BBW women who are both sexy and hilarious. But what I haven't seen at all are overweight men come to think of it.
I think that if TikTok wants to protect those under 18 from bullying it's a less than perfect solution. Perhaps they should target the bullies for banning instead?
But for adults it's clearly discrimination and they should stop. Can you imagine TV never airing Jackie Gleason, Benny Hill or Chris Farrelly?
There's a lot of undiagnosed Tourette's out there, probably because coprolalia (shouting curse words involuntarily) is the best-known symptom even though it's extremely rare even among people who have Tourette's:
> In his report, Dr. Samuel H. Zinner, a pediatrician at the University of Washington specializing in developmental and behavioral problems, points out that the syndrome "often goes undiagnosed or misdiagnosed."
> "Misconceptions about this tic disorder are customary," he adds, "with the syndrome often perceived as characterized by bizarre, fitful behaviors or comical outbursts of uncontrollable profanity."
> The fact is that "relatively few patients yell out obscenities," Dr. Zinner said, adding that "most patients are affected only mildly and usually escape notice," even by their doctors. Complicating the diagnostic puzzle is the ability of patients, consciously or otherwise, to suppress their tics when expressing them could be embarrassing, as would occur in visits to the doctor.
> Dr. Zinner says the disorder is far more common than is generally recognized, even by the Tourette Syndrome Association, which estimates that 1 person in 2,000 is affected. Rather, recent studies suggest that the real number of those with chronic tics is more like 1 in 100, suggesting that 750,000 children in this country have Tourette's. The disorder affects four times as many boys as girls and often runs in families.
> Although coprolalia affects fewer than 15% of people with Tourette syndrome, a common misconception is that all sufferers display this symptom.
As for hiding the disabled, there's clearly a spectrum. I agree that children have to be handled differently from adults, but I also think that older children have to be handled differently from younger ones, which is probably beyond what a platform can reasonably police. Reliably distinguishing over-18 from under-18 is hard enough.
Were you convinced that "BBW" women couldn't be either before browsing TikTok?
Tiktok is very viral oriented - and the net is not that friendly - I hope netzpolitik are willing to provide support for folks facing attack and/or ridicule as a result of going viral - not everyone is in a good place for that (even youtube stars going through crazy burnout / meltdown cycles).
Then these platforms should actually punish the people attacking, not the victims. Why is it the victim's fault that people around them aren't mature enough to treat them like a human being? Why is it their fault that they're being attacked for being themselves? Why should they be the ones that are being punished for being different?
What TikTok is doing is literally victim-blaming, and it's not ok.
So we are clear - these are for profit platforms exploiting / providing a free service depending on your perspective for content providers and users -> usually with the goal of marketing to them or otherwise monetizing them.
Now mix in folks with development disabilities and a history of exploitation / abuse in this area generally. That down kid gyrating so you can laugh and show your co-workers is not an adult making a fully informed decision.
What these for profit platforms are doing is in many cases literally exploitative -> with the rights to monetize the content held by the platform, so you can laugh in the morning - and it's not OK.
In any case, none of what you said actually responds to my questions -- why are the victims the ones being punished here? What did they do to deserve being silenced other than being themselves?
Yes, what these platforms are doing is exploitative, and that's a real separate issue that needs to be solved. But the right solution isn't this victim-blaming discrimination.
It's far easier to argue that TikTok et al are exploitative, it's much harder to discuss the proper solution to the issue that the thread is talking about. Let's keep it to that.
Someone with down syndrome at 13 or even 21 is in a different place than an adult without down.
We probably disagree somewhat on whether exposure to a global audience as a child is healthy, even if it is 99% supportive. I'd be curious how star wars kid, and other young stars are doing - kids / disabled are CONSTANTLY being exploited, particularly if there is a financial angle to it.
We ALREADY see this on youtube where streamers absolutely do crazy stuff with their kids for views.
I'm sure we'll have some funny down syndrome tiktok stars, most likely ones with support staff / agents etc able to keep a good pace of content coming.
I think we are in total agreement - folks making nasty comments should be consequenced. That's the easy part.
But I'll be curious what stories we hear in 5 - 10 years about whatever tiktok stars end up making it big by being themselves. Who gobbled up the money, how happy were they etc. I say this because fully mature adults struggle with this terribly on these platforms already. The history here is not great BTW.
And where you and the rest are reading the since changed guidelines as "victim blaming discrimination" by an evil corporation - another possibility is that they used a guideline (potentially from an education setting) and applied it in a setting that it wasn't considered for.
I say this because in an ed setting with down / disabled kids you really don't (even with their permission or their parents) video and promote the "funny" things they do.
While a lot of what you are saying is important and something that should be talked about, this thread is not the right place for this discussion. This discussion is specifically about "TikTok [curbing] reach for people with disabilities".
I will comment on two things:
> And where you and the rest are reading the since changed guidelines as "victim blaming discrimination" by an evil corporation
Intentions don't really matter if the act comes off as "victim blaming discrimination" to everyone. If everyone (or, more specifically, "you and the rest") sees it as that, then that's what it is. The duck test very much applies.
> I say this because in an ed setting with down / disabled kids you really don't (even with their permission or their parents) video and promote the "funny" things they do.
Once again, we're not talking about kids. And we're not specifically talking about people with Down's. Those are two very specific instances you cherrypicked, but are not the only cases of "disabilities" used by TikTok in this instance, or in previous instances of censorship. Setting aside the Down's adult argument, where intelligence and ability consent vary wildly between people, it's not nearly as clear cut as you make it seem, are adults with facial disfigurements suddenly not able to decide for themselves? What about members of the LGBTQI+ community (who have been known to be censored on this specific platform)? Amputees? Paraplegics? People with a "birthmark or slight squint"? All of these groups of people, and more, would be "Auto R"ed or given a higher risk category which would prevent their content-- content that they explicitly and willingly uploaded and wanted to make public-- from being seen by others. This is like the textbook definition of censorship, discrimination, and victim blaming.
If you're willing to engage in an actual discussion on this topic, I'm happy to do so, but so far I've been saying things that you're either willingly or unwillingly completely dismissing in lieu of your arguments on a completely different topic.
Their guidelines "literally" (to use a word you keep on misusing) say this is about cyberbulling - the fault lies with the bullies in cyberbulling if you use that term.
Despite your use of the world "literally" the guidelines do not say this risk marking is designed to "victim blame" and "discriminate against the handicapped".
If you read the guidelines and have a background in this space (I can tell you do not) you may recognize some of these elements from guidelines used in educational and other setting for folks who have a mental handicap. Whether it's proper to bring them over is debatable, but you ascribe a lot of intent to tiktoc and seem unwilling to consider any other perspective than your own.
Content moderation is generally a cost center for platforms. They do it not because they want to, but because they HAVE to. They have links to suicide hotlines, ways to block and report followers. Your premise - that a for-profit company set out to incur costs to discriminate and victim blame (and you've done no analysis of steps they've taken around bullying on the platform). In fact - why was my account suspended is a very common question around tictok - in many cases exactly because of their steps here - they've constructed a reasonably positive community.
Suicide is I believe the second cause of death up to 30 or so (someone correct me) - so focus on questions of cyber-bullying is not unwanted. And yes - fault lies with the bullies - just the way it lies with the criminals who would abuse a child on the street in a city at 2AM. But you still might tell that child to be home while its light out to reduce the risks to them if they were vulnerable - and your intent may not be discriminate against your child's chance to do what they want but to protect them.
Even if the policy was a misguided bad idea, the intent behind it was to protect vulnerable people from viral bullying, which has ruined people's lives to the point of suicide. Whether their focus is on protecting the vulnerable people or to protect themselves from a future publicity disaster, it seems clear that they're placing fault in the hands of bullies. Still, you asked "why is it the victim's fault?". That's a fabricated intention that you created so you could then claim that it's "literally victim-blaming". That's strawmanning.
I'm certainly not privy to all the inner workings of other platforms, but this doesn't sound like what happens on other social media sites...
This is absolutely backwards, as it is based upon the presumption that disabled individuals are so fragile that they cannot face any adversity or be "traumatized."
That's just reverse-discrimination, and it's just as damaging as outright discrimination.
> Companies shouldn't avoid doing things just to avoid negative press.
Companies aren't going to arrange themselves along moral lines, we've seen this failure too many times to think it's a possible or even desirable goal. Negative press is a useful tool and is simply reflective of our societies attitudes and morals.
I'm perfectly fine with companies using "negative press" as a bellwether for internal policy.
> They're providing a service for the people.
...and those people _willingly_ decide if they want to use it or not.
No such presumption. Lots of people, especially kids, can become traumatised by bullying. This argument seems like concern trolling to be honest.
> and those people _willingly_ decide if they want to use it or not.
Children can willingly decide to gamble or buy a beer but we as a society don't let them. And we don't just leave it up to the parents in those situations either.
...well, with beer we often do, in the US, at least: https://www.alcohol.org/laws/underage-drinking/
This argument seems like trolling trolling, to be honest.
It is hard and even the best companies do it imperfectly, but those caveats don't make it any less valuable. I also think it's silly to say that trying to do less harm relies on a presumption that people cannot withstand any harm. Even if people can take it, it would be good to hurt them less.
This isn't a situation of mutual exclusion. Individuals decide if they want to keep using products and we should talk about if practices are harmful. The two practices inform each other - people can have well-meaning critiques that use reveals as wrong and people can discover, through critique, that the product they liked is actually harming their lives.
From parent post:
> If they had just let disabled individuals get cyber bullied they could have avoided this negative press altogether.
Show me an American or European social media company that discriminates in this way and I will show you the same level outrage.
There were no special-ed classes in my school (I went all the way from elementary to high school), and I have never seen a person with disabilities in my school, despite the fact that it was a large school (but we all still kinda knew each other, at least on a surface level). And I find it extremely unlikely that my hometown and my school somehow had such great odds, that there was not a single student with disabilities in a school of ~1.2k people simply due to the fact that everyone in town was that healthy.