TikTok Bans Deadnaming, Misgendering, Misogyny

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Wednesday February 9, 2022

TikTok announced new community guidelines, including bans on the promotion of conversion therapy, misogyny, and the deadnaming and misgendering of trans people, The Verge reported.

The update also included bans on some other types of "content the company has previously come under fire for, including videos that critics say glorify eating disorders and dangerous viral challenges," The Verge detailed.

A statement from the social media platform released Feb. 8 and attributed to "Cormac Keenan, Head of Trust and Safety" specified new rules around "content we will remove from our platform or make ineligible for recommendation in the For You feed."

Changes around content promoting "conversion therapy," and the misgendering and deadnaming of trans people, were listed under a paragraph headed "Adding clarity on the types of hateful ideologies prohibited on our platform."

The statement said, "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."

"On top of this, we hope our recent feature enabling people to add their pronouns will encourage respectful and inclusive dialogue on our platform."

Another paragraph explained changes regarding TikTok's "dangerous acts and challenges policy," which the statement said was intended to "prevent such content — including suicide hoaxes — from spreading on our platform."

"This previously sat within our suicide and self-harm policies, but will now be highlighted in a separate policy category with more detail so it's even easier for our community to familiarize themselves with these guidelines," the statement added.

A joint statement from gender justice advocacy group Ultraviolet and GLAAD applauded the move.

"TikTok has become a little safer for women, girls, LGBQ and trans people today," Ultraviolent Communications Director Bridget Todd said in the release.

"Social media is nearly ubiquitous in modern life," Todd went on to say. "Which is exactly why we can't allow social media companies to tacitly condone disinformation, racist, misogynistic, homophobic or transphobic attacks," Todd added, saying that the update "suggests that TikTok executives agree."

"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," stated the head of GLAAD, Sarah Kate Ellis.

"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."

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.