News

TikTok uses word filters in Germany to suppress certain comments

Potentially harmful comments are filtered out automatically by TikTok in Germany, as a spokeswoman for the company has confirmed. Recent research by NDR, WDR and Tagesschau had come across a word filter on the social media platform that also takes effect in Germany.

TikTok censorship also in Germany

The accusations against the social media platform of censoring content are not new. However, new research by Tagesschau, which was sought jointly with NDR and WDR, shows that posts are also being censored in Germany. A word filter suppresses comments from users that contain certain words.

Tested were around 100 words or word combinations, according to Tagesschau, and with different accounts. Around 19 of these comments were not published in at least three attempts by different accounts. Affected were mainly comments that contained words such as “porn” or “sex”. It is unclear whether these were filtered out for reasons of youth protection.

Comments containing words such as “LGBTQ”, “gay”, “queer” or “homosexual” were also affected. The same applies to the words “Auschwitz” and “National Socialism”. Also affected by shadow banning, i.e. the suppression of content without making this clear, was the name of the Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai, who had caused heated debate in recent months. At the latest after she accused former Chinese vice-governor Zhang Gaoli of persuading her to have sex on the Chinese social network Weibo.

TikTok confirms use of word filters

In response to inquiries from NDR, WDR and Tagesschau, TikTok had acknowledged mistakes. In doing so, a spokeswoman confirmed that the social network uses mechanisms that “automatically filter out potentially harmful comments”. But why terms from the LGBTQI community are also blocked is unclear.

After all, the company, which is owned by the Chinese internet group ByteDance, has publicly presented itself as open to the LGBTQI community time and again in the past and, according to its own statement, has also financially supported accounts from queer members.

TikTok is now working at full speed to revise its approach. It is particularly worrying that the platform blocks without taking a holistic view of the context and does not make the reasons for the censorship public. For example, while the term “slaves” was blocked within the Tagesschau trial series, comments containing the word “slavery” were published.

In the case of Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai, according to the company spokeswoman, the letter sequence H-U-A was decisive in German-speaking countries, as TikTok claims to have recognized the term “Hua” for “whore” here, which is commonly used in Austrian-German.

TikTok now wants to “thoroughly review”in order to weaken the word filter and fundamentally rethink its own strategy, “to ensure that we recognize hate and violations, but allow counter-speech and neutral comments”. After approaching TikTok with the results, only eleven of the original 19 blocked terms were filtered out, it adds.

Simon Lüthje

I am co-founder of this blog and am very interested in everything that has to do with technology, but I also like to play games. I was born in Hamburg, but now I live in Bad Segeberg.

Related Articles

Neue Antworten laden...

Basic Tutorials

Neues Mitglied

4,381 Beiträge 1,588 Likes

Potentially harmful comments are filtered out automatically by TikTok in Germany, as a spokeswoman for the company has confirmed. Recent research by NDR, WDR and Tagesschau had come across a word filter on the social media platform that also takes effect in Germany. TikTok censorship also in Germany The accusations against the social media platform … (Weiterlesen...)

Antworten Like

Back to top button