TikTok recently doubled down its efforts to further join the ranks of other social media platforms who discriminate against the adult entertainment industry by updating their community guidelines to shadow ban pole dancers.
Things got real on March 7, when TikTok stated they would not recommend any videos that were “overtly sexually aggressive” and/or that included “content that depicts implied nudity, sexualizes body parts or is blatantly erotic or sensual (e.g. strip teases).
They also lumped this update in with revised regulations on hateful behavior, suicide and self-harm, violent and graphic comment and bullying and harassment — as if pole dancing was on par with these issues.
It’s no secret that TikTok has been dabbling for quite some time in keeping erotic dancers on their toes by finding ways to ban their work. KultureHub reported that the witch hunt started in mid-December 2020 when TikTok first updated their rules to prohibit “content that promotes or glorifies sexual solicitation.” This of course could be any number of things depending on your “uptight” factor and gave viewers the greenlight to ruin someone’s livelihood instead of just switching the channel.
All these haters now had to do was shoot off a swift complaint to TikTok headquarters and demand the “offending” video removed.
In one instance, Dr. Carolina Are — a professor in the criminology, sociology and journalism departments at City University London who also happens to be a pole dancer — had her account automatically suspended even though she had almost 70,000 followers and over three million views on the video in question. It would be interesting to know what percentage of complaints she got out of the 3 million views. My bet is it wasn’t even 1%. Further thought-provoking is the probability that the folks who turned her in were the same ones who posted nasty comments such as the chauvinistic “definitely cannot have a family with a woman like that.”
TikTok, fond of saying that their “community guidelines apply to everyone and everything,” turned a blind eye to pole dancers’ rights while at the same time allowing these trolls to violate their no bullying, harassment and hateful behavior mantras. To take it one step further, TikTok is breaking their own guidelines by spreading hate against women. Stating that pole dancing promotes and glorifies sexual solicitation is misogynistic as it assumes that women only dance to please men and secure sex.
Adult Entertainment Discrimination
Even before the March 7 update, TikTok has been leading a witch hunt against pole dancers and the adult industry.
But what makes the update even more underhanded is that TikTok has now found a sneakier way to discriminate against adult content other than just banning it. They now make sure that the videos will be marked “non-recommendable” in the For You Page (FYP) which is a nice corporate way of saying they’ll be shadow banning.
The FYP feed is curated specifically for users based on an algorithm of what they like to watch. For content creators it’s the holy grail and helps you reach your niche audience. But now with the new guidelines, TikTok has easily squashed the pole dancing community by keeping their videos out of sight and out of mind. On the flipside, if you’re a viewer and love watching pole dancing videos, you’re not going to get any recommendations in your FYP. You’re going to have to hunt them out which not only adds an extra step but makes it harder for fans and creators to connect.
Ultimately, no one wins in this scenario not even TikTok who will lose a valuable part of their community and viewership. The new guideline is one more swipe at an industry already disenfranchised and gives power to haters to shut down content that’s not harmful to anyone.
Alyssa Collins hails from Minnesota, where snowy days were the perfect excuse to stay warm inside and write. Over the years, she turned that joy into a career and has authored numerous articles for various publications (under pen names). Email Alyssa via email@example.com.
Header image via Pexels.com.