Black TikToker Exposes App’s Discriminatory Algorithm In Viral Video

Photo: LIONEL BONAVENTURE/AFP via Getty Images

“Here’s why I’m frustrated,” TikToker Ziggi Tyler said in a now-viral video exposing bias in the video sharing app’s algorithm. “If I go into the creator marketplace and I put ‘supporting white supremacy’ and I hit accept, it’s okay,” Tyler explained. “But God forbid, let me put ‘Black Lives Matter’ on there, watch,” Tyler said demonstrating in a screen recording, “Boom, inappropriate content, can’t say that. I cannot say ‘Black people’.... And this is why I’m pissed the f**k off,” he added. 

Tyler originally posted one video demonstrating the ban on Black content before adding two follow up videos showing the discrimination. Tyler’s videos exposing the bias come as Black TikTok creators organized a strike from creating a dance for Megan Thee Stallion’s “Thot Sh*t” that would have probably gone viral and been co-opted by white TikTokers who would have –– as has been the case in recent months –– been afforded opportunities that originators get skipped on. 

Black TikTokers have been voicing their experience with the app randomly banning their content and profiles for some time now, bringing things to a head as creators, like Tyler, get frustrated. 

“We’re tired,” Tyler repeated in the video. “Anything Black related is inappropriate content,” he added. Tyler even tried just the word “Black” and it was flagged as a threat and inappropriate, too.  

“They’re not even TRYING to hide it anymore,” one TikTok user commented on Tyler’s video. 

In a third video, Tyler continued to demonstrate the bias, typing “I am a neo n*zi” into the Intro box on the app, and it was accepted. The app denied Tyler’s submission of “I am a Black man” saying that it was a threat and inappropriate content.

The app has yet to post a statement about the videos and allegations to their official Twitter account. The app apologized to Black creators last year amid the global protests against racial injustice and inequality, but as Tyler pointed out, the app has much more to address. 

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