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Sam Smith and Russell Brand reportedly given special TikTok status to allow more “leniency” when posting

It has been revealed that TikTok has given special status to certain high-profile accounts, with moderators in Europe encouraged to be lenient with the content they post.

  • READ MORE: TikTok reveals most popular artists and tracks of 2023

Journalists Hibaq Farah and Dan Milmo from The Guardian have suggested that the social media platform created a “hierarchy of users, with certain individuals or groups assigned internal tags that allow them more leeway. Certain seemingly important accounts have been given internal tags, which don’t seem to appear on other accounts.”

Internal tags that are assigned to certain users and individuals point to a higher status and include markers such as “super account”, “super account super account”, “Top PGC” and “top creator”.

People such as Russell Brand – who has been accused of rape, sexual assault and emotional abuse, although strongly denied the claims – Sam Smith, Manchester United, TV presenter Michael Barrymore, and YouTuber Ethan Payne have been given the internal tags. It is unclear if they are aware of the tags on their accounts.

The Guardian has been investigating TikTok amid ongoing concern about how it moderates its more than one billion users worldwide and has seen internal communications that are likely to raise fresh questions about how the app is policed,” reported the outlet. “According to the internal communications seen by The Guardian, moderators have been told to treat accounts that carry those tags more leniently than those of other users.”

Photo Illustration by Idrees Abbas/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

The publication also reported that a message sent by an adviser to over 70 moderators advised them to be “more lenient” to “top creators” with something that was described as “edge cases”. Though there is no explanation to what exactly an “edge case” is, the publication believes it refers to”videos that are considered on the borderline of flouting TikTok’s guidelines.”

A TikTok staff member told The Guardian: “I understand it to mean that if you consider a video to be an edge case then you are urged to not apply policies if it’s a top creator.”

The social media has yet to release any kind of official statement on the subject matter but a TikTok spokesperson shared a statement to the outlet that read: “These allegations about TikTok’s policies are wrong or based on misunderstandings, while The Guardian has not given us enough information about their other claims to investigate. Our community guidelines apply equally to all content on TikTok.”

In other news, TikTok’s ‘Add To Music App’ is set to roll out to users in 19 more countries worldwide following its launch in November.

Last month, TikTok announced a new feature that allows users to directly save sounds from the app to their streaming platform of choice. Users in the US and UK can already utilise the feature now, which allows fans to save music they’ve discovered to Spotify, Apple Music and Amazon Music.

The social media platform has now announced plans for it to be available in the following countries: Canada, Japan, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Saudi Arabia, Ireland, Sweden, Thailand, Malaysia, UAE, Argentina, Colombia, The Netherlands, Turkey, South Africa, Vietnam and the Philippines.

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