May 30, 2020 / 5:38 PM / a month ago

Fact check: The #blacklivesmatter hashtag is not banned on TikTok

Amid protests in Minneapolis prompted by the death of George Floyd, posts and images have circulated on social media with the claim that the video-sharing service TikTok has banned the use of the hashtag “Black Lives Matter”. This is not correct – TikTok users can view and post this hashtag. The popular social media platform said it had earlier experienced a temporary glitch, which it said was now resolved.

A TikTok logo is displayed on a smartphone in this illustration taken January 6, 2020. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

Example of the claim can be seen (here)(here)(here)(here).

A verified TikTok Support account on Twitter responded to a user making the same claim. TikTok said that a technical glitch had prevented views of some tags, not limited to “Black Lives Matter” and “George Floyd”. “We are aware of an issue that is impacting the hashtag view counts displayed at the upload stage. This appears to affect words at random, including terms like #cat and #hello. Our team is investigating and working quickly to address the issue,” it said (here).

Twitter users in the same thread later confirmed that the glitch had been fixed.

Taylor Lorenz, a reporter from The New York Times who covers technology, reported that this was “a temporary glitch where view counts weren’t showing for any tags pre-upload” (here) .  “In search, you could always see view counts and once uploaded the hashtags worked normally,” Lorenz wrote on Twitter.

Reuters tested the app and confirmed users were able to geotag, click, and use the hashtags “BlackLivesMatter” and “GeorgeFloyd” later on May 29.  As of the afternoon on May 29, the hashtags “BlackLivesMatter” and #GeorgeFloyd were visible in TikTok, showing hundreds of millions of views for both. A screenshot posted by an NBC reporter showed 674.3M views for videos tagged #BlackLivesMatter (here).

VERDICT

Partly false. The “Black Lives Matter” hashtag is not blocked by TikTok. The app said it had earlier experienced a temporary technical glitch preventing views of this hashtags, among others.

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our fact checking work  here  .

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