Last year it was revealed that TikTok moderators were intentionally suppressing disabled users, which surprisingly went under the radar and didn’t receive much of a response (if any) from disability charities and support groups.
But now TikTok is being asked to take action against the recent “Autism Challenge” that’s gone viral on the platform after multiple organizations claimed that this was a mockery against people with some type of disability.
Since May 13, a new trend has emerged on TikTok called the “Autism Challenge”, which – as its name suggests – consists of making fun of the different autism disorders through videos making incoherent movements or dancing in a way that “an autistic person would.”
The popularity of the challenge increased to the point that different organizations defending the rights of people with autism have expressed themselves, furious that TikTok has not deleted such content and banned users who take part.
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The Autism Society of America sent a message through Twitter to TikTok demanding that they immediately remove all videos related to this challenge, as they consider it a lack of respect for the dignity of people with this disability.
Another organization that rejected the challenge was Autism Advocacy Ontario, who claimed that some insulting tags were being removed from the site, but that the videos could still be found.
However, some like gossip columnist Pérez Hilton said that TikTok should not remove these videos since for him this represents a way of censoring free speech. Hilton says the platform is already quite strict, and that people should be able to post what they want, even if he disagrees with the content since that’s what free speech is all about.
After the pressure put forward not only by disability charities, a TikTok spokesperson announced that the platform is working to remove these videos, as they violate the limitations set in the platform rules.
Anna Kennedy, an advocate of autistic rights, who received the statement from the TikTok’s representative, relayed the information.