FACT CHECK: Did TikTok Ban #BlackLivesMatter?

Brad Sylvester | Fact Check Editor

A viral Facebook post shared more than 8,700 times claims the popular short-video app TikTok banned #BlackLivesMatter.

Verdict: False

At no point did TikTok ban #BlackLivesMatter. It experienced a technical glitch in late May that affected the view counts of a variety of hashtags on the “Compose” screen only.

Fact Check:

In the wake of George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis police custody, people around the world have engaged in online activism, including showing support for the Black Lives Matter movement. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and other platforms have been flooded with posts that include #BlackLivesMatter.

Multiple social media users alleged that the hashtag had been banned on TikTok, a platform that allows its many users to watch, create and share short videos. One viral Facebook post read, “TikTok banned #BlackLivesMatter hashtag. Delete that app,” for instance. (RELATED: Does This Video Show A ‘Child Militia’ Deployed In Atlanta?)

But that is not accurate. While the app did experience a technical glitch that affected the view counts on hashtags such as #BlackLivesMatter and #GeorgeFloyd, it was limited to the “compose” screen. The view counts of hashtags on other areas of the platform were not affected, according to a tweet from the verified TikTok Support account.

“We found & fixed an issue that widely affected the view count displayed on hashtags in the upload stage,” the tweet reads. “This bug temporarily affected view count displays on hashtags in the Compose screen only; it did not affect hashtags, videos, or discovery of uploaded content.”

The glitch prevented users from seeing the number of views each hashtag had accumulated prior to posting content but did not prevent users from using the hashtag at any point. Once a video was uploaded, the hashtag functioned normally, according to New York Times technology reporter Taylor Lorenz.

The TikTok Support account tweeted that the glitch appeared “to affect words at random, including terms like #cat and #hello.” The glitch was found and fixed on May 29, according to another tweet from the TikTok Support account.

The app shows #BlackLivesMatter has over 10.8 billion views as of press time.

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Brad Sylvester

Fact Check Editor
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