According to recent reports, TikTok is employing a two-tiered moderation system that gives preferential treatment to influencers, celebrities and other VIPs. This is according to leaked audio recordings of internal TikTok meetings in 2021. This more lenient policy enforcement system has used dedicated queues to prioritise and protect the posts of people with more than 5 million followers when they break TikTok's content rules.
TikTok is creating a dangerous precedent with its moderation system whereby the number of views ultimately determines what can be posted and whose accounts will be given more leniency in the content posted.
Although many users will say that they agree that influencers and VIPs should be given leniency to the rules as it ensures users get "real" content, it presents a risk in having unacceptable content being posted. In today's age where accounts are easily hacked, an influencer or celebrity's account can be used to spread protected, private, unacceptable, illegal or immoral content.
In doing so, TikTok could open itself up to fines from regulatory bodies such as local broadcasting complaints bodies or data protection bodies, and further litigation from users. In addition, an influencer, celebrity or group of influencers and/or celebrities could use the platform to push agendas, which are deemed unacceptable by TikTok and which may not be picked up by TikTok's moderation system until it is too late and the reputational and legal risk materialises.
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