TikTok has reportedly blocked users of its Creator Marketplace from being able to use words and phrases including "Black" and "Black Lives Matter" in their bios, flagging the words as "inappropriate content."
Ziggi Tyler, 23, who is a user of the app, discovered the function while he was attempting to update his bio over the Fourth of July weekend. Tyler then posted several videos to the app detailing his findings.
In a screen recording, Tyler showed his followers how he repeatedly attempted to include “Black,” “Black Lives Matter,” “Black people," “Black success,” “Pro-Black,” and “I am a Black man” in his bio only to receive an "inappropriate content" error, making him unable to update it.
In the video, Tyler later attempts to add the words “pro-white” and “supporting white supremacy" to his bio. In those examples, he was able to save the content without receiving an error.
The TikTok Creator Marketplace feature, which is currently in beta testing, aims to help creators connect with brands to form sponsorship deals. Tyler explained to Forbes that he had hoped to use the platform to highlight his racial background to advertisers looking to diversify their talent or launch campaigns focusing on racial justice.
“White people can get on here and call me the n-word and make videos about violent extremism but I can’t do anything,” Tyler said. “We can’t do anything.”
The social media platform attributed Tyler's experience to a flaw within safeguards designed to filter out hate speech.
“Our TikTok Creator Marketplace protections, which flag phrases typically associated with hate speech, were erroneously set to flag phrases without respect to word order,” a TikTok spokesperson said in a statement to The Hill. “We recognize and apologize for how frustrating this was to experience, and our team has fixed this significant error. To be clear, Black Lives Matter does not violate our policies and currently has over 27B views on our platform."
Last month, Black TikTok users decided to go on an indefinite “strike,” choosing not to choreograph dances to popular songs after white users of the platform were accused of taking moves from Black users without offering credit. Some of the messages that were then sent by the white users went viral on the platform.
Updated 7:53 p.m.