TikTok videos about the Hollywood writers’ strike were temporarily blocked as the platform attempted to moderate QAnon conspiracy theories.
Media Matters for America, a nonprofit media research group, reported today that TikTok users were unable to search for content related to the Writers Guild of America strike. “WGA” and “WGA strike” did not return any search results on the app despite continued waves of coverage of the writers and actors strikes. Within hours of the MMFA report being published, the search results were restored and now appear to be working as usual.
TikTok confirmed it accidentally blocked searches for WGA strike content while trying to block QAnon conspiracy theories; TikTok spokesperson Ben Rathe didn’t tell us exactly which QAnon phrase was blocked on the record, but we do see that the slogan “WWG1WGA” (where we go one, we go all) is a common QAnon phrase.
TikTok has been a key way unions and workers have shared news about the dual WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes. The strikes have also had an impact on content creators and influencers, as studios try to hire non-union content creators to do work that union members don’t do and creators try to understand how to comply with union requests.
Divulgation: The edgeThe editorial staff is also unionized with the Writers Guild of America, East.