Can TikTok actually get rid of disordered eating content?
As a social media platform that’s wildly popular with the youth, TikTok has already faced its share of hand wringing, about everything from spreading vaccine misinformation (real issue) to convincing kids to join cults (less real). TikTok’s corporate owners do seem to be a little more nimble than other social media platforms in addressing real threats, though it’s certainly an uphill battle. Case in point: The Takeout has a piece on TikTok’s new community guidelines, specifically regarding a ban on posts that promote disordered eating. “But given the platform’s reputation as the Wild West of social media, how effective can that ban be, really?” asks writer Lillian Stone, and with good cause. Noting how health and wellness content may not explicitly promote eating disorders, many of the practices these videos highlight (e.g., calorie counting, cleanses) are certainly part of the problem. Are we to believe that TikTok’s beleaguered content monitors will have an eye for this kind of nuance?—Jesse Hirsch