Why Sam Smith may get away with more than the average user on TikTok

Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images

If you’ve ever thought some content that Sam Smith posts to their TikTok account might be a little boundary- pushing, well, reportedly TikTok agrees, but allows it anyway.

According to an investigation by the U.K. paper The Guardian, TikTok uses special internal tags to designate certain accounts, such as “top creator” or “super account super account” — and Sam’s account has received that designation, as has embattled comedian Russell Brand.

The Guardian claims moderators who are tasked with removing offensive or controversial material from the platform have been told to be “more lenient” to these accounts when it comes to what it calls “edge cases.”

Based on its investigation, The Guardian‘s reporters believe “edge cases” are videos with content that would normally come close to violating TikTok’s guidelines. There is no evidence that Sam or any of the other people whose accounts have been so tagged are aware of this in-house designation. 

However, TikTok has pushed back on the paper’s reporting and issued a statement to The Guardian: “These allegations about TikTok’s policies are wrong or based on misunderstandings … our community guidelines apply equally to all content on TikTok.”

A similar investigation by Forbes last year found that TikTok operated a two-tier moderation system that gave special treatment to celebrities, influencers and VIPs.

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Contests