In case you weren’t in the loop with influencers and cosmetic surgery clinics, it’s likely that TikTok uses a highly sophisticated beauty algorithm that gives each face in your video a numerical ranking of attractiveness. Videos with more algorithmically attractive people in them get promoted more in the algorithm.

The Intercept reported in March 2020 that a particularly damning internal document from TikTok instructed moderators to not promote content from viewers with “ugly facial looks.” According to The Intercept, a representative from TikTok stated that the policies’ aim was “preventing bullying.” It’s ironic and hard to believe that moderator instructions that blatantly discriminated against videos of disadvantaged, disabled or algorithmically “unattractive” people were ever meant to prevent bullying.

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