A new report from Media Matters For America has found popular social media platform, TikTok, is promoting content that is “blatantly anti-LGBTQ+”, some of which encourages targeted violence. To test TikTok’s algorithm, researchers tracked which videos were recommended after watching anti-LGBTQ+ content, finding that their “For You” pages featured an increasing amount of hostile videos the more the user engaged with said content.
Anti-LGBTQ+ content included videos that contained homophobic and transphobic slurs, among ones that actively encouraged violence against LGBTQ+ people. Other videos requested “only homophobic ppl follow me”, and some encouraged users to burn the LGBTQ+ Pride flag. TikTok has also been accused of making pro-LGBTQ+ content more difficult to find by suppressing content with certain hashtags, such as #gay or #trans.
Media Matters concluded: “The reality is that even though TikTok claims to prohibit discriminatory and hateful content, explicitly anti-LGBTQ+ videos are not only flourishing but being fed directly to users’ “For You” pages by the company’s algorithm.” The findings follow a recent social media report from GLAAD which found all popular sites and apps are “categorically unsafe” for LGBTQ+ people.