Sam Erix: odyssey to regain eight million followers on TikTok.

Sam Erix: odyssey to regain eight million followers on TikTok.
Tik Tok
United States
Content Moderation

In March 2022, Sam Erix, better known as Snerixx on TikTok, woke up to the news that her account, with eight million followers on that social network, had been permanently suspended. 

His profile picture and biography appeared blank, while the numbers of followers and likes were reduced to zero. In the past she had not been in trouble for violations of the platform's policies, but a message when trying to log in to the app from her cell phone said the decision was made for multiple violations of community rules. There was no indication of what content might have caused the sanction, nor what rules he had allegedly broken.

He tried to recover his account by two methods established by the platform. The first is the "account recovery" function, found in the settings section. On the other hand, he sent a form provided by TikTok to report problems. There he explained his situation and asked for it to be resolved. 

Through none of these channels did he get a response. What did work, however, was a direct email to the platform. Unlike other services, where getting a corporate email can be impossible, TikTok has several corporate emails to which users can send complaints or suggestions.

As he said in a video posted on his YouTube channel, shortly after writing to the Community Manager address, Snerixx received an email back announcing that after a review, they had found that there was indeed no violation of the platform's rules and that his account had therefore been reinstated.

Failures of this kind are not exclusive to TikTok. Circuito has recorded cases of people losing access to Instagram from one day to the next or being demonetized without any explanation being offered.

Errors in the moderation systems can affect the finances of creators, but also the exercise of their rights. Although in this case there was a response and solution, it was not given by the ordinary means that the platform has to resolve this kind of situation. 

Amid its tremendous growth in recent years, TikTok has been lagging behind in content moderation. Concern for transparent and guaranteed processes led a group of human rights organizations and academia to develop the Santa Clara Principles, a set of guidelines for platforms to design their moderation systems and the way they communicate and apply their sanctions. Some of these principles refer precisely to the need for social media to offer due process, with sufficient guarantees, clear notifications and possibilities for appeal.

This is not the first time Snerixx has faced such a situation. Two years ago, the exact same thing happened to her. On that occasion, she tried to contact people working at TikTok, but none of them would help her. In the absence of help, she had no choice but to open a new account to start from scratch. However, six weeks later, without receiving any kind of notification, she found that her old account had been reactivated.

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