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Friday, February 18, 2022



Social media giant TikTok updated its community guidelines to explicitly ban certain types of anti-LGBTQ content.

In a move to add “clarity on the types of hateful ideologies prohibited on our platform,” the updated guidelines now ban deadnaming, using a transgender person’s pre-transition name; and misgendering, using incorrect pronouns. Content supporting or promoting conversion therapy is also prohibited. The platform also added recently added a new feature allowing users to add their pronouns to their profiles.

Other updates to the guidelines include banning the promotion of disordered eating. According to the site, they already prohibited and were removing this kind of content but decided to make these prohibitions explicit in the guidelines after recommendations from creators and advocacy groups.

“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,” Cormac Keenan, TikTok’s head of trust and safety, said in a statement. “On top of this, we hope our recent feature enabling people to add their pronouns will encourage respectful and inclusive dialogue on our platform.”

Along with the new guidelines, TikTok also published its most recent quarterly Community Guidelines Enforcement Report. According to the report, about one percent of all uploaded videos were removed for violating the guidelines in the third quarter of 2021. Of all videos removed, 1.5 percent were due to hateful behavior, which includes anti-LGBTQ hate speech.

The move comes a year after GLAAD released a report on LGBTQ safety on social media sites. While the report found that TikTok saw the smallest rate of LGBTQ harassment and hate speech (9 percent compared to 75 percent on Facebook, 24 percent on Twitter and Instagram, and 21 percent of YouTube), GLAAD said TikTok and other top social media sites are all “effectively unsafe for LGBTQ users.”

survey from the Anti-Defamation League revealed similar findings: 64 percent of LGBTQ respondents reported experiencing online hate and harassment.

GLAAD celebrated the update, saying it would have real-life effects.

“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 and to adopt recommendations made in GLAAD’s 2021 Social Media Safety Index 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.”

According to research, deadnaming and misgender can have serious effects on the mental health of transgender youth. A 2018 study published in the Journal of Adolescent Health, which surveyed trans youth ages 15 to 21, found that those who were allowed to use their chosen name at work, school, and home had a lower risk of depression and suicide.


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