TikTok drops cyberbullying policy that targeted gay, fat, disabled users

Media playback is unsupported on your device                  Media captionWATCH Feroza Aziz rejected TikTok's explanations for blocking her from its app

TikTok has said in recent weeks that it stores its U.S. user data within the country and does not censor political content in line with Beijing's instructions.

Such users were "susceptible to bullying or harassment based on their physical or mental condition", according to the rulebook. No matter the content of the videos, they were marked as being uploaded by special users who could be at risk of being bullied.

People with facial disfigurements, autism and Down syndrome were among those to have their posts dumped down TikTok's algorithm so that others on the social network would not see them, the report said.

The Chinese version of TikTok is under scanner by the US Government which has observed an additional feature in the app which allows the Chinese users to upload the image of an American citizen and find all the data concerned.

TikTok is owned by a Chinese technology company called ByteDance, but has increasingly been stressing its use of localized teams for more-recent moderation and data policies.

Facing criticism, TikTok acknowledged that its approach had been flawed, the BBC reported on Tuesday, adding that the measure was exposed by the German digital rights news site Netzpolitik.

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A spokesperson from TikTok told Netzpolitik.org that these policies were "never intended to be a long-term solution", and instead meant to combat conflict on the platform.

The popular video app TikTok has been hit with a lawsuit claiming it stole user information without knowledge or consent, then transferred the data to Chinese servers.

TikTok, which is thought to have about half a billion active users worldwide, has previously said it does not store USA data on Chinese servers.

The class-action lawsuit was filed the day before Thanksgiving in California federal court, The Daily Beast said Monday.

TikTok has reportedly been downloaded over 750 million times in the past year alone, becoming the first globally-oriented social-media app to emerge from China. TikTok, which reportedly has more than 1 billion active users, has come under scrutiny by US politicians who recently launched a national security review into the company over its $1 billion purchase of the lip-sync video platform Musical.ly back in 2017.

But TikTok has come under scrutiny recently over whether it censors content deemed sensitive by China's authoritarian rulers.

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