HOW CAN WE BEST EDUCATE PEOPLE WITHOUT GETTING TAKEN DOWN
It has officially been over one month since college student, author, and TikTok content creator Zev Burton first began calling on TikTok to release their current content moderator guidelines. Starting on Jan. 24, 2021, Burton began posting daily videos on the platform asking for answers.
“TikTok has community guidelines that everyone has to accept when they log on to the app for the first time, but those aren’t the guidelines that they hold creators to. Instead we’ve got moderation guidelines and an AI system and human systems that are monitors for content that goes against their internal guidelines, I’m just wondering what those internal guidelines are.” Burton said in an interview with The Chase on Feb 26.
Burton has one central question that he’s calling on TikTok CEO Vanessa Pappas to answer. “Why is hate speech left up but education about that hate speech is taken down”?
On Jan 30, Burton personally invited Pappas to answer his questions in real time on TikTok live.
“I have had no word from anyone at TikTok and really the silence is deafening. About a week ago…there was a creator who was exposing himself on camera, and there were a bunch of us [creators], who made counter videos asking what was going on and why this video was not taken down? It was ridiculous. Instead TikTok then removed a few of our videos from their platform – not mine but some other creators – nevertheless they didn’t take down the original video.”
Consistency is one of the major issues that Burton thinks is a problem with the platform’s moderation. Despite being on day 34 of posting about this issue, Burton says he and other creators haven’t noticed a change in TikTok’s moderations. “There is a great group of originators called the Online Creators Association that many other creators and I are working with to monitor any changes in moderation to the platform. Yet there hasn’t been, to put it bluntly,” said Burton.
Burton went on to add that in the worst-case scenario TikTok could shutdown his account, and if that were the case, he would simply create a new account. Burton, a junior at Georgetown University in Washington D.C. studying International Politics, says he’s prepared to post his daily videos until he and the TikTok community receive their answers. Burton declares his only hope is to make the platform better.
“I think TikTok is an amazing platform, I’m just a small-town Indiana boy in D.C., who started posting videos about things he’s passionate about and I have a whole community behind me."
The Chase attempted to contact TikTok but received no response.