As the Indigenous community at large was sharing social media posts for #IndigenousPeoplesDay2018, the music sharing company TikTok (formerly musical.ly) was called out for a headdress filter that could be accessed via live streaming in its smartphone app.
When the company learned of the headdress filter — meaning a person could talk on camera and a plains-style headdress and war paint would superimpose over the person’s face — they offered an apology to Indian Country Today and said they had removed it immediately upon learning about the filter.
A company representative said the feature was buried in the app that was only accessible to livestreamers with over 1,000 followers.
After merging musical.ly with TikTok, the U.S.-based team says overlooking such a feature was an oversight.
TikTok is a social media smartphone app where users can lip sync to music and or share brief videos and livestreams.
The smartphone app musical.ly started in April 2014 as a music sharing social network app in China and grew to over 90 million registered users in two years. After reaching over 200 million users in 2017, Bytedance Technology Co. who also owns TikTok, bought the company for 1 billion dollars, merged with musical.ly and moved the content to TikTok.
Follow Indian Country Today’s associate editor and senior correspondent, Vincent Schilling (Akwesasne Mohawk) on Twitter - @VinceSchilling