Kiwi body image advocate Jess Quinn calls out TikTok for suppressing disabled users' videos

Kiwi body image advocate Jess Quinn has slammed video-sharing app TikTok for "shadow banning" content by "disabled, fat or LGBTQ+" users.

Quinn, who lost her leg to cancer when she was a child, has used social media to build a platform promoting body positivity, diversity and inclusivity.

On Wednesday night, the 26-year-old shared a scathing message to TikTok, berating a policy which aims to protect "vulnerable" users who may experience  "bullying if their videos reach a wide audience".

"On behalf of all of those people, the only bullying is your exclusion of people who you believe are 'vulnerable'. I thought I'd add a little video to your app of my 'vulnerable' self, wearing a sweatshirt that says 'all bodies welcome here' while removing one of my body parts," she wrote alongside the aforementioned video.

"I'd rather show some nine-year-old girl who lost her leg to cancer that she can get involved on TikTok in the same way as everyone else. I would like to encourage the young person who identifies with the LGBTQ+ community that they too have the same opportunities.

"Any person that you perceive as 'fat' can take up as much space as they please on your app."

She concluded her message by thanking TikTok for their "attempt at being considerate".

"But quite frankly we just want to be treated like everyone else. Sincerely, a human body who is only 'disabled' and 'vulnerable' by society's (and TikTok's) definition."

The post, shared to her 181,000 Instagram followers, has since amassed more than 30,800 views and attracted praise from other users. 

The app has acknowledged that videos made by disabled users were deliberately prevented from going viral by moderators, BBC News reports.

The policy was exposed by the German digital rights news site Netzpolitik in a leaked extract from TikTok's rulebook, which gave examples of what is moderators should look out for. They were allegedly instructed to limit viewership of those users' videos.

The guidelines said users with disabilities, disfigured facial features, autism or Down's syndrome were "susceptible to bullying or harassment based on their physical or mental condition". 

TikTok has been contacted for comment.