The social media app temporarily blocked searches for the Writers Guild of America strike but tells Rolling Stone the mistake has been fixed
TikTok has fixed a mistake that temporarily prevented users from searching for videos related to the Writers Guild of America strike — saying the phrase was accidentally flagged by the app’s filters against QAnon.
News of the block was first reported by Media Matters. When the phrase WGA was put into the search bar, viewers were instead shown a warning that the search “may be associated with behavior or content that violates our guidelines.” The hashtag WGA also did not bring up any videos.
A spokesperson for TikTok told Rolling Stone on Monday that the search term was inadvertently blocked as part of existing protections against QAnon conspiracy theories, which violate community guidelines against disinformation. In 2020, the app banned several large hashtags related to the conspiracy theory and told Rolling Stone in a statement that the company would be developing a way to make QAnon-related content harder to find with TikTok’s search function.
The spokesperson also noted that searching WGA fully written out as Writers Guild strike or “Writers’ Guild of America” would show related videos.
WGA did not immediately respond to Rolling Stone’s request for comment, but social media has played a large role in how the labor guilds have continued organizing during their strike. It’s been four months since the WGA officially went on strike, and while negotiations continue, writers have flocked to social media apps like TikTok to both communicate with each other and advocate for fair wages.
As of Monday afternoon, the term WGA was searchable again on the TikTok app.