Although TikTok users can enjoy a variety of content on the social media platform, from mini vlogs of their favourite celebrities’ daily routines, to dancing challenges and videos celebrating the Minion cult, they must also tackle TikTok’s censorship rules.
To protect users from engaging in sensitive and inappropriate content, TikTok has a set of community guidelines which prohibits creators from sharing unsafe content.
This often includes banning content which is sexually explicit, violent, graphic, or promotes inappropriate behaviour.
However, while the TikTok Community Guidelines may be in place to protect users, some content and online discussions aren’t so black and white.
This has meant that users have found ways to wriggle around the rules to make difficult but important conversations more accessible.
One way users have managed to talk about sensitive topics on the platform is through using acronyms, codes, and missing letters out of words.
This means most content is able to bypass TikTok’s Community Guidelines and its algorithm which monitors inappropriate content.
The acronym SW has been the most recent term circulating the platform, and some users have been left wondering what it means.
So, What Does SW Mean On TikTok?
SW is a shortened acronym for the terms “sex work” and “sex workers” which have become part of the TikTok vocabulary for users.
While TikTok has a strict ban on content which is sexually explicit in any manner, this rule proves incredibly unproductive when it comes to opening up discussions about body positivity and sexual freedom.
Discussions surrounding sex work have become much more common over the past year in both the UK and the US.
Bans on SEVs (Sexual Entertainment Venues), and tightening control over women’s bodies, such as the overturning of Roe v Wade in America, have catapulted sex workers into the limelight in the fight for sexual freedom.
The TikTok SW hashtag currently has 4.5 billion views, and is filled with sex workers creating videos to destigmatise their jobs. This includes showing off their new outfits, revealing what they keep in their bags at work and filming hauls and house tours to show what they have bought with their hefty pay cheques, as well as sharing the realities of their jobs.
Above all else, the adoption of SW on TikTok has allowed progress to be made towards destigmatising sex work and opening discussions about the reality of sex work.
This is something especially necessary in the current political climate, which has seen further measures being taken to regulate sexual freedom across the globe.
So, while TikTok aims to protect users with its community guidelines, the ability for some content, when labelled right, to bypass the algorithm isn’t such a bad thing after all.Featured Image Credit: Alamy