Deleting posts created by people deemed too ugly, poor, or disabled was the order that TikTok gave its moderators.
According to internal documents revealed by The Intercept, the popular Chinese video platform also called for censoring speeches or political content contrary to the Beijing regime.
This background is yet another example of the company's efforts to impose severe restrictions on its approximately 800 million users, while trying to reinforce its image as a global model of expression and creativity, the newspaper analyzed.
The denounced policies also show how TikTok controls content on its platform to achieve rapid growth in the mold of a Silicon Valley startup, while discouraging political dissent with the kind of heavy-handedness seen regularly in its home country. The Intercept added.
TikTok, he recalled, has suppressed live-broadcast military activities and natural disasters, as well as criticism of public officials and any other material that could threaten "national security." However, censorship records that show rural poverty, slums, beer bellies, and crooked smiles have not circumvented either.
A document goes as far as instructing moderators to check the contents for cracked walls and bad-reputation decorations in users' homes, and then effectively punish them by artificially reducing their audiences, the site added.
The Intercept speculated that the documents appeared to have been originally written in Chinese and then translated into English for use in the remaining ByteDance offices. The firm, a kind of Chinese Facebook, was founded in 2012 and is based in Beijing.
The company has come under scrutiny from the United States government for its ties to the Chinese Communist Party and numerous reports comparing its censorship strategies to those used by Beijing.
In dialogue with The Intercept, Josh Gartner, a spokesperson for the platform, clarified that most of the contested live streaming guidelines “are no longer in use and, in some cases, never seem to have been.
Asked directly for the discriminatory demands, he simply commented that it was a forceful early attempt to prevent bullying, but they had already been deprecated when The Intercept met them.