TikTok Unintentionally Restricted Videos on the Hollywood Writers Strike Amidst QAnon Clampdown
TikTok briefly restricted access to videos discussing the Hollywood writers strike while implementing measures to combat QAnon conspiracy content, according to a recent report by Media Matters for America, a nonprofit media research organization.
Users on TikTok encountered difficulties in searching for content related to the Writers Guild of America strike, with searches for terms like "WGA" and "WGA strike" yielding no results. However, within a few hours of the report's release, search functionality was restored and appeared to be functioning normally.
A TikTok spokesperson, Ben Rathe, confirmed that this restriction was an unintentional consequence of the platform's efforts to block QAnon-related content. While not specifying the exact QAnon phrase that triggered the restriction, it's worth noting that the slogan "WWG1WGA" (where we go one, we go all) is commonly associated with the QAnon conspiracy theory.
TikTok's disinformation policy has previously led to the banning of user accounts sharing QAnon-related content and the blocking of QAnon-related hashtags. Posts containing terms related to the "Writers Guild of America" were not affected by this restriction, Rathe clarified.
TikTok has played a significant role in disseminating information about the ongoing Writers Guild of America and SAG-AFTRA strikes. These strikes have also had repercussions for content creators and influencers, as studios have sought non-union creators for tasks that union members are not performing, while creators have navigated compliance with union requests in their work.