Black TikTok influencer from Upper Darby accuses app of discrimination

UPPER DARBY TWP., Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- TikTok influencer Joshua Teshome from Upper Darby, Pennsylvania, with more than 25,000 followers, is speaking out, accusing the app of trying to silence the Black Lives Matter movement.

"I feel like it's very important to speak out against Tik Tok not only because, yes they are a multi-billion dollar app, but just because it's just human rights," Teshome said.

The rising high school senior was recently featured in a TIME Magazine article and is far from the only content creator who says TikTok is shadow-boxing them-- meaning either videos are intentionally being taken down or somehow hidden.

"If you type in a hashtag it will automatically come up with how many views it had, and so when I would type in Black Lives Matter or George Floyd and those two hashtags had zero views, that's when I first noticed it," Teshome said.

Tik Tok said in a statement, "First, to our Black community: We want you to know that we hear you and we care about your experiences on TikTok. We acknowledge and apologize to our Black creators and community who have felt unsafe, unsupported or suppressed. We don't ever want anyone to feel that way."

"It's two-faced. How are you going to say that you love Black people and then you're going to suppress Black creators on the app that's helping it be more successful," Teshome responded.

TikTok says recently the company has taken several measures to promote diversity and inclusion including a town hall with the CEO and Black content creators, creating a Creator Diversity Collective and that it is changing the guidelines to be more clear when content is removed.

TikTok also says they are supporting more organizations that fight for equality like the Congressional Black Caucus.

Teshome acknowledges there's been some improvement but wants to see more.
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