TikTok has reported unblocking the account of a 16-year-old content creator who was temporarily banned from the platform after she debuted her cystic acne, according to a news report.
Eva-Marie Grant, from North Yorkshire in England, said she was attempting to dismantle negative stereotypes about acne. When she showed her bare skin, which was covered in raised, red pimples, TikTok flagged her account and took it down.
“It didn’t fit them because of my skin, because it was gruesome content,” Eva, who holds the Miss Teen Galaxy York title, told BBC Radio York.
Determined to not let the incident deter her from sharing her truth online, the disgruntled teen reported penning an email to the social media giant and creating a new account the next day.
A TikTok spokesperson told the BBC the company doesn’t “get every moderation decision right” and went so far as to reinstate the lost account.
“We hope Eva continues to use TikTok to offer encouragement and advice to others, and to share her story,” the rep continued, stating that the app is a “platform for creative, authentic self-expression.”
Eva, who has suffered cystic acne for years, said her skin condition worsened so much that at one point, she refused to leave the house. Since medical treatment has helped, she hopes to show others that not having flawless skin is “normal.”
“Just because you have blemishes on the outside, it doesn’t mean you are not beautiful,” she said.
In the pageant world, Eva’s acne hasn’t stood in the way of her success — the 16-year-old is slated to compete at the national finals in March. Should she win, she will progress to the international competition in the US.
“No one really says anything in pageants because they all accept you for who you are, not what you look like,” she said.
This latest TikTok snafu isn’t the first time the app has come under fire for seemingly censoring body positive content. Users have criticized the app for being “fatphobic”; stifling marginalized creators; and only promoting stereotypically attractive users.
In 2020, body positive influencers flamed the platform for flagging their videos for community guideline violations due to showing some skin — despite wearing the same outfits as their thinner counterparts.
In a statement to The Post at the time, a TikTok spokesperson claimed that “body type is never a reason for content moderation on our platform. The fact that some in our community feel it might be is a concern we listen to deeply, and we’re committed to continuing to examine our policies and practices as we work to keep TikTok a safe and welcoming place for everyone.”
Just months earlier, The Intercept had published a bombshell report that revealed TikTok’s moderation criteria, which included censoring creators who were deemed to have “abnormal body shapes” or who were classified as “chubby,” “ugly” and “obese.”
The platform, which is owned by Chinese technology company ByteDance, also advised moderators to flag clips where users appeared to be in “slums” or “dilapidated housing.”
The app is facing challenges within the US government as the threat of a ban looms. In December, the Senate voted to ban the platform from government-issued devices over security concerns.
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