According to General Manager at TikTok for the UK and Europe, Rich Waterworth, one of TikTok’s core principles is to celebrate diversity, fostering an inclusive community. TikTok is a creative hub for people from all walks of life, who are diverse in gender, sexuality, age, and background. The platform has been embraced by members of the LGBTQ+ community, with users raising awareness to issues such as: being LGBTQ+ and disabled, trans inclusionary feminism, and the realities of being Muslim and LGBTQ+.
Feedback from users during the early days of TikTok raised concerns that the app could do more to make the platform safer and more inclusive of minority communities. Following this, TikTok has since prioritised discussions with individuals and representative organisations of minority groups, listening to their concerns in order to evolve and improve the way hateful content is dealt with.
Last year, TikTok expanded its policy to strengthen enforcement against hateful content aimed at the LGBTQ+ community, such as videos promoting conversion therapy and abuse targeting trans people. They worked towards educating their enforcement teams to understand the context behind such videos, ensuring that hateful videos that go against the community guidelines are swiftly removed.
Building allyship in 2021
Corresponding with the beginning of this year’s UK LGBTQ+ history month, TikTok has announced that they will be working closely with Stonewall throughout the year, making sure the dialogue surrounding LGBTQ+ education does not end in conjunction with the end of the month.
The partnership will welcome collaborative content from Stonewall, supported by TikTok, covering themes including inclusive education, inclusivity in sport, and intersectionality.
Throughout February, Stonewall will host live videos on their TikTok channel, headed up by voices from the LGBTQ+ with a wide range of identities and experiences, making sure that all LGBTQ+ people are recognised and celebrated. Expect to see the coverage of topics highlighting what it’s like to grow up queer, to the celebration of BAME LGBT+I people.
In addition to live and pre recorded content from Stonewall, TikTok themselves will be creating an extensive list of LGBTQI creators who they believe everyone should be following. They will also be LGBTQ+-specific hashtag challenges to welcome creators to create and share their own unique content surrounding LGBTQ+ History Month.
TikTok’s partnership with Stonewall opens doors for popular creators, influencers, and casual TikTok users to engage in conversations surrounding LGBTQ+ issues. Not only could the increase in positive LGBTQ+ content allow members of the community to build support systems with those who can relate to their experiences, but people who don’t identify as LGBTQ+ can use these educational tools to build on their own allyship.
It is important for platforms with large user ships and influential users to show their support to minority groups not just during specific months, but every day of the year, making sure that their platforms are safe and inclusive of all of their users.