Google Play Store removes 8M negative TikTok reviews

Google has apparently removed approximately 8 million negative TikTok reviews from the Play Store. Google removed the negative reviews after Indian TikTok users brigaded the Play Store, criticizing TikTok after finding users were disturbing videos via the popular app. The videos in question showed and condoned acts of domestic violence, animal cruelty, racism, child abuse and objectification of women.

As reported by 9to5Google, millions of Indian TikTok users started leaving one-star reviews on the app’s Google Play Store listing in response to the disturbing videos. The reviews ultimately tanked TikTok’s average score, dropping it from 4.5 stars to under 1.2. This score reduction led Google to remove 8 million reviews from the original TikTok listing on the Play Store.

A spokesperson for Google has since told TechCrunch that the reviews were removed as “corrective action” to “curb spam abuse.” Many of the reviews also contained similar verbiage to TikTok-related hashtags being used on Twitter, encouraging additional users to participate in tanking TikTok’s Play Store rating. Hashtags included BanTikTok, DeleteTikTok and BlockTikTok.

Since Google has stepped in to delete the negative reviews, TikTok’s Play Store listing has since seen an uptick in its average review score. The app’s score now sits at 1.6 stars, though that number is likely to recover as Google removes more spam reviews.

In a statement to TechCrunch, a TikTok spokesperson shared, “Keeping people on TikTok safe is a top priority and we make it clear in our Term of Service and Community Guidelines that clearly outlines what is not acceptable on our platform. As per the policy, we do not allow content that risks the safety of others, promotes physical harm, or glorifies violence against women. The behavior in question violates our guidelines and we have taken down content, suspended the account, and are working with law enforcement agencies as appropriate.”