TikTok removes cryptocurrency content and is criticized by influencers | Applications and Software

TikTok updated its policies in July, banning the promotion of financial products and services, including cryptocurrencies, on the platform. The idea would be to prevent scammers from publicizing schemes or sponsored creators, even without knowing it, from ending up leading users to fraud. However, according to multiple influencers who make educational videos about digital currencies, the social network is blindly banning any and all content that touches on the subject.

TikTok on iPhone (image: André Fogaça/Tecnoblog)

Influencers would be improperly banned

THE CNBC spoke with eleven influencers who use TikTok to produce and disseminate videos about cryptocurrencies, mostly without receiving any sponsorship and with the aim of informing and educating people about this universe. Theoretically, they wouldn’t be breaking the platform’s new guidelines, but they still get bans, have their content constantly deleted, and even get kicked out of the social network, with virtually no explanation as to why.

Lucas Dimos is one of those creators. he told the CNBC that if he has one more video removed, he fears he will be permanently banned from the platform. In the last month since the new policy went into effect, he says at least 10 of his posts have been deleted for “promoting illegal activities and regulated goods” on TikTok. However, the owner of the account called “theblockchainboy” says he hasn’t done anything wrong. “We try to build a community and guide this whole movement in the right direction.”

“It was almost like TikTok’s automatic reaction against all these scams that were happening,” said Dimos, who has more than 314,000 followers on the platform. “Although they may be blocked from posting scams and scams, all of us crypto content creators cannot post any of our videos.”

TikTok changes policy and prohibits promotion of cryptocurrencies

TikTok (Image: Solen Feyissa/Unsplash)
TikTok (Image: Solen Feyissa/Unsplash)

Dimos and the other influencers dealing with cryptocurrencies on the platform say they are just trying to educate consumers about this emerging market, but have been hit hard by the company’s rapid changes in rules.

In July, TikTok implemented a system that can automatically block videos that violate its policies. In addition, the promotion of cryptocurrencies and financial services could only be carried out if creators advertised their videos through the app’s branded content option, which comes with a “sponsored” notice.

However, these influencers heard by the CNBC, in the vast majority of their videos, they earned absolutely nothing for them, so they would not be effectively promoting any product or service. In addition, most of them also claim that they lost followers and that their views dropped considerably in July.

They believe that the content detection algorithm that violates the platform’s rules is overly covering terms, names and words that automatically cause their videos to be deleted, without any further analysis.

THE CNBC tried to contact TikTok, who declined to comment on the creators’ reports. Instead, a spokesperson only directed journalists to the company’s community guidelines page and did not specify which crypto content creators were violating.

“The real issue isn’t the ads,” said the cryptocurrency influencer known as Wendy O. “It’s the fact that TikTok is banning and censoring crypto content creators and many of us are just posting great educational videos.” Some of them say they are seriously considering switching to platforms like YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and the chat app Discord, where they say they have more freedom to share content.

Cryptocurrencies are triggers for removing videos

Cryptocurrencies (Image: Worldspectrum/Pexels)
Cryptocurrencies (Image: Worldspectrum/Pexels)

Over the past few weeks, these creators have stated that they cannot use certain words in their videos, such as “Binance” or “decentralized finance” (DeFi). Specifically mentioning a cryptocurrency is also subject to censorship, such as bitcoin (BTC), ether (ETH) or dogecoin (DOGE). Apparently, all these terms activate the illicit content detection algorithm on the platform.

As Timothy, who goes by cryptoweatherman on TikTok, said, the social network’s guidelines state that it will remove content, “including video, audio, live stream, images, comments and text,” that violates the rules. In addition, the app claims to use a “combination of technology and human moderation” to enforce its policies before action is taken against a particular post.

If a video is removed, the user is usually notified that the post violates a policy or is related to “illegal activities and regulated goods”. But the message doesn’t provide further details, the creators said. If two videos are removed, they will be banned from posting content for at least 24 hours. Bans can last from a day to a week, they said.

Theoretically, it is possible to appeal any ban or exclusion that the creator believes is wrong. But when creators contact TikTok about a retired video, for example, many say they were ignored or just received an automated response. There is no phone number to call and no representative to email. In some cases, the appeal results in the deleted post being restored.

The consensus among the eleven influencers heard by the CNBC is that they want and intend to comply with all the platform’s guidelines, but that they need to be properly clarified. It is still unclear what TikTok considers “cryptocurrency promotion” and what may or may not mark a given video as “illegal activity”. Finally, they ask for a more direct channel to be opened with the company to address the issue, answering questions and explaining bans and removals.

With information: CNBC

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