‘We have to talk TikTok.’
In a viral TikTok series, a creator claims she was banned from TikTok Live for a week after she told someone leaving hate comments about her body to “get off her stream.” She alleges the ban was not revoked until six days later, sparking debate over TikTok’s moderation policies and appeals process.
The first viral video, which has over 4.5 million views, was posted in August by TikToker Haylee (@macnmillersmom). Haylee is a creator with over 55,800 followers who posts vlogging and lifestyle content, often about living with the chronic disease multiple sclerosis (MS).
The viral video shows the creator crying and saying she was banned from TikTok’s live stream feature “Live” for telling a bully to get off her stream. The creator says she goes on Live to post light-hearted content from her daily life, including daily exercise videos due to MS; however, she often receives harassment from trolls about her body. She says she usually ignores the comments but decided to respond to one hater.
“We have to talk TikTok because what you’re allowing is kind of god awful. … I do my same Live every day, and I get comments every day: ‘You’re busted. You’re overweight. You shouldn’t wear that.’ … This morning, somebody was commenting, ‘You’re busted,’ all of these things on here. And I said something, I was like, ‘Get off of my Live.’ TikTok ended my Live and blocked me from going live for the next week,” the creator says in the video.
“@tiktok .. I just don’t understand. So maybe you can help me out. #protectyourcreators,” the creator captioned the video.
@macnmillersmom @tiktok .. I just don’t understand. So maybe you can help me out. #protectyourcreators #livecomment ♬ original sound – mac n millers mom
Many viewers flooded to the comments section of the video to declare their support for the creator and to ask TikTok to respond to the situation and “do better.”
According to its website, TikTok removes videos if they are identified to violate its community guidelines after being reviewed by TikTok. Violations result in videos being removed, with the option for creators to appeal the removal. If a creator has multiple violations on TikTok, the company says it may institute temporary or permanent bans from posting, commenting, direct messaging, editing profiles, or starting Lives. It says it has certain “zero-tolerance policies” for severe issues like sexual abuse, which may automatically result a permanent ban. If creators believe they have been unfairly penalized, they may request an appeal to have their suspensions revoked and clear their record on the app.
TikTok did not respond to Passionfruit’s request for comment, inquiring if and why creator Haylee was banned from Live. It’s uncertain if the creator was banned from Live due to other violations of community guidelines. Haylee also did not respond to Passionfruit’s request for comment via email.
In a second video, which has 300,000 views, the creator continues telling her story. In tears, she says she doesn’t understand why this story took place as a small creator who creates fun, “wholesome” content.
“TikTok if you actually want to be out here protecting your creators, um, I don’t know, you’ll block people who comment something like: ‘You’re fat. You’re busted. Do a 360. Take your top off.’ Like, that’s the kind of stuff that needs to be blocked. You’re taking me down? Because somebody called me something horrible, and I said get off of my Live? And they reported me for it, and so you instantly ended it? Excuse me? Like, this is ridiculous,” the creator says in the video.
The creator also says she understands TikTok cannot moderate every comment and live stream but still is disappointed by what allegedly happened. In the caption on the video, the creator says while she loves TikTok, she thinks it doesn’t make sense that under the app’s community guidelines a troll could get away with something like this.
“If somebody reports my live maybe don’t immediately end it, send a warning,” the creator says in the video. “Then I could appeal it and point out you could watch the replay of my Live and understand that somebody was completely trolling me and saying horrible things about my body and me. … I’m sorry that I won’t do 360s and act the way men want me to act. … I guess that is what you’re looking for TikTok. So, I might change up my Lives here because, apparently, if I don’t do everything that they want and they block me or report me, you guys back them up. So, thanks TikTok.”
@macnmillersmom @TikTok .. part 2. I love this app but make it make sense. I’ve read the community guidelines. Others violate it daily and nothing happens. I tell someone to go away and you remove my access to LIVE steaming …. #LIVE #livehelp #livebullying #livestreamer ♬ original sound – mac n millers mom
More viewers in the comments section of the second video demanded that TikTok appeal the creator’s ban. In a third follow-up video, which was posted the day after the first two and now has over 68,000 views, the creator says she was “blown away” by the hundreds of people who left her supportive comments. She says she thinks there are more kind people than “gross” people on TikTok. However, she says she did not have the ban removed at the time of her second video.
Some commenters urged the creator to not let this situation bring her down. The creator later posted another update, which has over 18,000 views. In the video, she says she initially felt “shock” and “voiceless” after she was banned. However, she says she thinks she should take a step back and let these things “roll right off [her] back.”
“This was a huge learning moment for me. So, I am going to leave the crying videos up. I like what I said, I like the message, and I also like the lessons that I’ve learned from them, and I wanna make sure I share those. too,” the creator says in the video.
In the week following her initial video, users continued to inquire if TikTok removed her alleged ban.
“Can you do an update about tiktok blocking you from going live? Did you contact them?” one user asked in a comment.
This week, in a final update video with over 10,000 views, the creator says her access to live streams was reinstated one day earlier than her alleged ban’s expected end date. She says she believes her appeal was approved and seen by TikTok.
“I want to just thank TikTok for doing that, and then also point out that, you know, this is a big app, you guys. And they are always looking for improvement, um, so, yeah, we should call them out, and we should make these changes that encourage them to do better,” the creator says in the video.
Some users in the comments section did not want to let TikTok off the hook for the alleged ban.
“Nahhh we ain’t gon give thanks to the folks who did it in the first place with ZERO investigation on the matter. Probably took em 5 days to appeal,” one user criticized.
“Shouldn’t have blocked you in the first place for bs,” another argued.
Creators on TikTok have spoken out multiple times about TikTok’s banning policies. Many creators have spoken up about “mass reporting” campaigns launched by harassers to wrongfully punish creators, particularly those of marginalized backgrounds. BIPOC, LGTBQ, Jewish, fat, and disabled creators have said in recent years that TikTok has banned or restricted them after they discussed racism, homophobia, politics, their disabilities, their weight, or their cultural practices in their videos.
Women who face hate speech online have also said they have been unfairly banned on the app by trolls who mass report them. As previously reported by Passionfruit, moms in the cannabis community—who use marijuana in states where it is legal—also often have their content removed and accounts suspended or banned. Also previously reported by the Daily Dot, a TikToker in May said she believed her high school bullies found and repeatedly reported her TikTok account. In 2020, a model said one of her videos was removed by TikTok for being too “sexual,” despite being fully clothed.
Most social media platforms use artificial intelligence to review flagged and user-reported content. However, this technology often errs, leading human reviewers to verify some content violations. According to a blog post from TikTok in 2021, the company uses artificial intelligence without human review in areas that it says its technology has “the highest degree of accuracy,” including “minor safety, adult nudity, and sexual activities, violent and graphic content, and illegal activities and regulated goods.”
Passionfruit reached out to TikTok and creator Haylee for comment via email but did not hear back by publication time.
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