A young girl uses the TikTok app on a smartphone.
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TikTok announced it banned deadnaming and misgendering in a new update Tuesday.
The company said these ideologies were prohibited before, but now it’s explicitly stated.
Dr. Casey Fiesler told Insider these updates are helpful because they clarify what constitutes hate.
TikTok banned deadnaming, misgendering, and content that promotes conversion therapy as part of an update to its community guidelines, the company announced Tuesday.
Although the post to the company’s website said “these ideologies have long been prohibited,” TikTok said this is the first time they’ve been explicitly referenced in its rules.
“Deadnaming” is when someone calls a transgender or nonbinary person by their birth or legal name —their deadname — instead of their chosen name, which “can represent a more affirming life” for them, according to the Cleveland Clinic.
Deadnaming is harmful because it can make a person feel unaccepted, unsafe, and “induce feelings” of anxiety and gender dysphoria, according to PsychCentral.
“Misgendering,” is when a person refers to another person using language that does not align with their gender identity. Conversion therapy’s goal is to change an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity, Insider previously reported. It’s widely condemned as ineffective and harmful, and it’s banned in many US states.
Dr. Casey Fiesler, a researcher who teaches information science at the University of Colorado, Boulder, said TikTok’s community guidelines are “detailed,” adding “these additions are a good thing” because “hate speech or harmful content is not well defined.”
She told Insider the addition of things like deadnaming and discussions of conversion therapy in the guidelines is helpful because it makes it “unambiguous” that they constitute hateful behavior.
Although she said she does “not have a great deal of confidence in TikTok’s moderation system based” on her own experience and research, she maintained that TikTok acknowledging more behaviors to discourage is beneficial.
“Even if there are some challenges in figuring out how to moderate it, especially at first, community guidelines can serve as a guidepost for social norms and the values of a platform,” she said.
The community guidelines post announced additional updates, including that TikTok is bolstering its dangerous acts and challenges policy and prohibiting content that promotes disordered eating. The new policy intends to “acknowledge more symptoms, such as overexercise or short-term fasting, that are frequently under-recognized signs” of a potential eating disorders, according to TikTok.
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