The panel, together with new, ‘impact-driven’ programmes, aims to recognise and uplift ‘the voices driving culture, creativity, and important conversations on the platform’.
In the message, the pair went on to address the Black community directly, saying that ‘we want you to know that we hear you and we care about your experiences on TikTok’.
“We acknowledge and apologize to our Black creators and community who have felt unsafe, unsupported, or suppressed. We don’t ever want anyone to feel that way.
“We welcome the voices of the Black community wholeheartedly,” they say.
It comes after Black TikTok creators and allies changed their profile pictures and made videos commenting on issues faced by the community on the platform in May, in a movement set up by Black Lives Matter Utah founder, Lex Scott.
@lethallex##greenscreen BLACK OUT! ##blackout ##blackout2020 ##blacklivesmatter ##racism ##blacktiktok♬ original sound – lethallex
Concerns have also been raised over posts uploaded to the platform with the #BlackLivesMatter and #GeorgeFloyd hashtags displayed 0 views, something TikTok has since described as a ‘technical glitch’ which occurred last week.
“This was a display issue only that widely affected hashtags at large, and powerful videos with the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag continued to be uploaded, viewed, and engaged with – in fact, videos with these hashtags have currently generated well over 2 billion views, which is a testament to their importance to and resonance among our community.
“Nevertheless, we understand that many assumed this bug to be an intentional act to suppress the experiences and invalidate the emotions felt by the Black community. And we know we have work to do to regain and repair that trust,” they said.
The creation of a creator diversity council was one of several long-term steps announced by TikTok, alongside a commitment to investing in its ‘technology and moderation strategies’ and developing a ‘creator portal’ to expand communication and opportunities for the community.
The platform also said it will be ‘furthering the efforts of our internal diversity task force’ and ‘engaging organizations and experts to analyze how our products and policies can better serve people of all backgrounds’.
TikTok was amongst the organisations which took part in Blackout Tuesday this week, turning off playlists and campaigns on the platform’s Sounds page ‘to observe a moment of reflection and action’.
The platform also said it will be organising special programming to ‘celebrate and highlight Black artists’ contribution to music’, with Black Music Month taking place in June.
Alongside support on the mobile app, TikTok also announced financial commitments to support the Black community.
“We are also providing support in honor of our Black creators by donating $3 million from our Community Relief Fund to non-profits that help the Black community, which has been disproportionately affected by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“In addition, we are committing another $1 million toward fighting the racial injustice and inequality that we are witnessing in this country.
“This is just a first step, and we will further develop our ongoing efforts in this space as we work to support underrepresented groups as a whole,” they said.