TikTok Accused Of Pushing Violent Content To Minorities

The lawsuit alleged that TikTok’s algorithm shows more violent videos to minorities compared to Caucasians.
(credit: Malay Mail/pressfoto/Freepik)

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The majority of TikTok in the United States are teenagers between the ages of 10-19 and the number of people getting hooked on the short-form video platform is growing. It’s a headache to moderate a social media platform since users are always adding fresh videos because the platform is so user-friendly. You’ll probably find yourself watching endless videos, losing sight of time.

In a news article by The Star, a lawsuit accusing TikTok of being responsible for the murder of a 14-year-old African-American girl claims the platform’s algorithm favours users of colour over White users when it comes to violent video content.

The case, which also names Meta Platforms Inc., Snap Inc., and the parent company of TikTok, ByteDance Ltd., as defendants, is one of many that aim to hold social media corporations liable for causing teenagers to become hooked on their platforms.

TikTok is allegedly aware of prejudices in its algorithm related to race and socioeconomic position, according to the parents of Englyn Roberts, who passed away in September 2020, approximately two weeks after she attempted suicide. If it weren’t for TikTok’s programming, Roberts wouldn’t have viewed and become hooked to the harmful information that caused her death, claims the complaint submitted in federal court in San Francisco.

The parents alleged that:

TikTok’s social media product did direct and promote harmful and violent content in greater numbers to Englyn Roberts than what they promoted and amplified to other, Caucasian users of similar age, gender, and state of residence.

Social Media Victims Law Center, an advocacy organisation based in Seattle, filed the case.

A representative for Meta, the company that owns Facebook and Instagram, declined to comment but offered a list of guidelines and tools, such as parental controls, age verification, and reporting tools, for assisting and mitigating harm to teenagers and other people who are dealing with mental health issues.

On related news, find out how Facebook is trying to compete with TikTok by revamping its app here.

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