TikTok announces ‘zero tolerance’ policy on antisemitism
The announcement comes as the app has faced controversy over hate speech content on the service, including the Holocaust challenge, which saw users attempt to portray themselves as Holocaust victims.
Popular video-sharing social media platform TikTok has declared a “zero tolerance” policy on accounts that have been linked to instances of antisemitism, as well as other forms of bigotry.
The announcement, which came in an August 20 TikTok blog post titled “Countering Hate on TikTok,” comes as the app has faced controversy over hate speech content on the service, including the Holocaust challenge, which saw users attempt to portray themselves as Holocaust victims.
However, other users are still known to make inappropriate jokes and comments of an antisemitic nature on the app, which is used by and marketed at a primarily younger audience.
In one such video that surfaced on Monday, US Army Second Lt. Nathan Freihofer, who has nearly 3 million followers on the app, made a Holocaust joke, the Jewish News Syndicate reported.
“What’s a Jewish person’s favorite Pokémon character?” Freihofer asked with a laugh.
“Ash,” he answered, referencing the protagonist of the Pokemon anime Ash Ketchum as well as the cremation of Jews in concentration camps. He added “If you get offended, get the f**k out because it’s a joke.”
Speaking to JNS, Josh Lipowsky, a senior research analyst at the Counter Extremism Project, explained that while TikTok’s “comprehensive and specific hate-speech policies … are a step in the right direction for social media,” more steps to combat bigotry need to be taken.
“These policies are all great on paper, but we need to see the tech companies proactively enforcing [them] to protect their users,” he explained.
“TikTok and other social-media companies have to do more than just pay lip service to fighting extremism on their platforms. They need to quickly and uniformly enforce their policies to protect against the abuse of their platforms. These are private platforms and the companies that own them have a responsibility to the public to ensure that extremists are not abusing their sites.”
He added that “some may argue that this is an infringement of free speech, but the fact is these are private companies that have every legal right to limit how their services are used.”