Jewish TikTok staff share experiences of antisemitism among colleagues, express concerns over management’s support

TikTok employees openly express antisemitic and anti-Israel sentiments on the company’s internal chat system, Lark.

By Shiryn Ghermezian, The Algemeiner

Current Jewish and Israeli employees of TikTok opened up this week about facing antisemitism at the Chinese-owned social media company following the Hamas terrorist attacks on Oct. 7 in southern Israel and the ensuing war between the Jewish state and the terror organization controlling Gaza.

The employees, who opted to stay anonymous, detailed to Fox Business being targeted by coworkers of the video-sharing app with harassment and even calls to boycott companies and products related to Israel. They also said employees openly express antisemitic and anti-Israel sentiments on the company’s internal chat system, Lark.

Screenshots obtained by Fox Business even show multiple TikTok employees celebrating the Oct. 7 Hamas massacre and promoting the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel. The screenshots also show that even after Jewish employees reported to their managers about feeling threatened, TikTok failed to address their concerns.

One employee said many Jews working at TikTok feel like the company “no longer has any control over the 40,000 moderators working to fact-check and remove content that is inflammatory, inciting, and simply incorrect.” Another employee said, “The teams dealing with policy at TikTok have always been overwhelmingly staffed with individuals who are openly hostile to Israel and whose opinions often blur the lines on antisemitism.”

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The same employee claimed that TikTok allows “the permissible posting of anything violent or gory relating to issues sympathetic to Palestinians. But when videos depicting evidence of atrocities against Jews are removed before the world can see them, we then feel that the world’s most popular media platform is working against us as a people.”

The Jewish employees who spoke to Fox Business all expressed similar sentiments that they have received insufficient support from senior management at TikTok in response to their concerns.

“Currently, the atmosphere for Jewish employees at TikTok is very difficult,” said a Jewish employee based in the US. “We feel we were not provided with the relevant support that was afforded to our peers working in other tech companies at the outset of the conflict. We feel that we had to fight for recognition that something horrible had happened to us and fight for recognition of our very difficult feelings of insecurity.”

The same employee said Jews working for the company feel they “should keep his or her head down far more than any other minority in terms of expressing themselves culturally or politically.” In addition, the employee added, “Many of us who expressed this to our [human resources] HR representatives were simply shrugged off.”

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A TikTok spokesperson denied the claims made by the employees, saying they “do not reflect the experience of the majority of our employees.”

“TikTok has strong policies against discrimination and harassment in the workplace, and employees are encouraged to report their concerns – anonymously if they so choose,” the spokesperson said to Fox Business. “Every incident is investigated by the appropriate internal team.”

“Hateful ideologies, including antisemitism, are not and have never been allowed on our platform,” the spokesperson added. “From Oct. 7 to Nov. 17, we have removed more than 1.1 million videos in the conflict region for breaking our rules, including content promoting Hamas, hate speech, terrorism, and misinformation. Community guidelines are applied equally to all content, and our recommendation algorithm does not ‘promote’ one side of an issue over another.”

In November, a group of more than 50 Jewish TikTok social media influencers, content creators, and celebrities blasted TikTok in an open letter for not doing more to counteract antisemitism and online hatred on the platform. Many of them — including Sacha Baron Cohen, Debra Messing, and Amy Schumer — then participated in a private video call with TikTok executives and accused the video-sharing app of “creating the biggest antisemitic movement since the Nazis.”

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“There are Jews [working within TikTok and outside] who are trying to fight this antisemitism,” said one of the employees who spoke to Fox Business. “But there are two problems. One is that people are afraid of losing jobs and are therefore not speaking out enough. The other problem is that those at the top do not really care about fighting this and are making no real effort to change it.”

Several members of the US Congress are also pushing to ban TikTok in the US, arguing in part that the platform, which is owned by the Chinese company ByteDance, is a national security concern and also promoting anti-Israel content as the Israel-Hamas war rages on.