Tech is revolutionizing the old-school legal industry. Here are the startups to watch, and how they plan to tackle growth.

legal tech law gavel 2x1

The coronavirus pandemic has accelerated virtually every industry’s path to digitize, and the notoriously old-school world of law is no exception.

Legal firms are demanding more innovation in a bid to improve efficiency and as clients seek lower costs. VCs are seeing promise in the space, opening their wallets to fund legal tech startups.

Insider has been tracking the latest in legal tech, from startups looking to disrupt the complex and paper-dependent industry, to how legacy companies are adopting new digital tools. See the latest below.

Legal tech startup news

From contracts to e-discovery, buzzy legal tech startups are snapping up investments and making big plans for growth. Ironclad, a major player in the contract space, recently raked in a blockbuster $100 million in its Series D, and plans to use the fresh capital to double down on its in-house product development.

In January, e-discovery company Reveal announced both an acquisition and a $200 million investment from the private equity firm K1 Investment Management, signaling growth as it seeks to take on the e-discovery giant, Relativity.

Read more:

M&A and VC investments in legal tech

Venture capitalists’ interest in legal tech has been surging as more companies seek to digitize aspects of their businesses and shed costs. As some of these startups move beyond the early stage, big-league players like Clio and DocuSign are also making strategic investments and acquisitions in the space, while others, like the Big Four accounting firms, may also be poised to get in on the action in the future.

Read more:

Legal tech pitch decks

Pitch decks are often instrumental to a startup’s ability to attract investors’ attention, offering insight into the company’s mission, tech, and visions for growth. CEOs and founders of some of the hottest legal-tech companies walked Insider through their decks.

Read more:

Law firms warm up to tech

Though lawyers have long been described as risk- and, by extension, tech-averse, more firms are embracing tech solutions to streamline workflow and boost productivity. Some have launched their own innovation arms, or are partnering with legal-tech companies to give themselves a competitive edge. There’s also a business case for tech adoption: Innovative firms tend to perform better, make more revenue, and maintain better client relations than their older-school counterparts.

Read more:

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Wall Street headhunter intel – Roblox’s big debut – Inside Truist’s digital transformation

Hello, readers!

Happy Saturday, and welcome to Insider Finance. Here’s a rundown of the must-know stories from the past week:

  • Moving season is in full swing on Wall Street. Here’s what 8 headhunters are seeing.
  • Roblox CEO Dave Baszucki told us why he found a direct listing the most “authentic” way to go public.
  • Goldman Sachs tells summer interns it’s hoping to provide some in-office experiences this year.
  • Truist execs map out the bank’s hybrid-cloud approach and new roboadvisor.

If this email was forwarded to you, sign up here to get your daily dose of the stories dominating banking, business, and big deals.

Goldman Sachs is telling interns they may be coming into the office this summer

200 West Street the Goldman Sachs building in New York
People enter and exit 200 West Street the Goldman Sachs building in New York

Goldman Sachs is telling 2021 summer interns it hopes provide them some in-office experiences. It’s also partnering with online-learning company NovoEd to enable incoming interns to connect with one another virtually starting in early March.

Previously, Goldman CEO David Solomon emphasized his desire to train interns in person if possible. Read more here.

Roblox CEO Dave Baszucki told us why he doesn’t consider himself an IPO ‘rebel’

Roblox CEO David Baszucki
David Baszucki, founder and CEO of Roblox, presents at the Roblox Developer Conference on August 10, 2019 in Burlingame, California.

Video-game maker Roblox finally went public via a direct listing this week. Leading up to the debut, Roblox made a switch from its original plans to go public via a traditional IPO. In an interview with Insider, Roblox CEO Dave Baszucki said the pivot felt like “a natural way to do it.”

“We don’t feel like we’re a rebel at all,” Baszucki said. Read more here.

Here’s which Wall Street jobs are in the highest demand

rise in financial advisor hiring 2x1
Once the bonus season dust settles and cash hits the bank accounts, Wall Street laces up its running shoes. Now, everyone from up-and-comers to full-fledged rockstars is racing to assess their opportunities.

At the center of it all are Wall Street headhunters, who are working feverishly to supply the talent for new buildouts and initiatives their clients are prioritizing for 2021, as well as filling the vacancies elsewhere as stars are poached away.

We asked eight recruiters about the hottest sectors and trends they’re seeing. Here’s what they said.

Inside Truist’s tech transformation, from a hybrid-cloud approach to a new roboadvisor

Dontá Wilson, Truist’s head of digital client experience, and Scott Case, Truist’s CIO

The 2019 merger of BB&T and SunTrust marked the largest bank deal since the financial crisis. Now the sixth-largest US bank, Truist has the size to go about a wholesale upgrade of its digital banking offerings through both internal development and external partnerships. Keep reading.

Other stories readers loved this week

  • Private-equity giant Vista is out fundraising as founder Robert Smith looks to move past his tax-evasion agreement
  • Fintech Acorns just nabbed Harvest as consolidation among personal-finance apps heats up
  • HSBC just tapped Google Cloud to roll out a chatbot that helps employees with their regulatory questions
  • American Airlines’ $10 bln lifeline is a strategy that could be replicated by industries like retail and hospitality
  • M1 Finance‘s CEO explains the fintech’s push to digitize the private bank experience
  • BlackRock just held a town hall to roll out its diversity and inclusion strategy. Here are all the details.
  • Carlson Capital has lost nearly $3 bln in assets and dozens of staffers over the last 2 years
Read the original article on Business Insider

What to know about the business of sneaker bots: the controversial tech that helps resellers flip hundreds of hyped pairs of Jordans, Dunks, and Yeezys

sneaker bots resellers 2x1
  • In the sneaker resale world, a “bot” refers to a software application that expedites the online checkout process.
  • Though certainly a controversial aspect of sneaker culture, bots are essential for purchasing latest releases at retail prices.
  • Here’s everything you need to know about the business of bots and their role in buying sneakers.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

There are a few of reasons people will regularly miss out on hyped sneakers drops. But odds are, it’s because of a bot.

In the sneaker resale world, a “bot” refers to a software application that expedites the online checkout process and helps resellers nab hyped pairs in seconds – including limited-edition drops and collabs.

When sneakers are released in limited quantities, it’s often a race to see which sneakerheads can input their credit card information on a website or app the fastest in order to checkout before the product sells out. Bots are specifically designed to make this process instantaneous, offering users a leg-up over other buyers looking to complete transactions manually.

Though bots are notoriously difficult to set up and run, to many resellers they are a necessary evil for buying sneakers at retail price. The software also gets around “one pair per customer” quantity limits placed on each buyer on release day.

As the sneaker resale market continues to thrive, Business Insider is covering all aspects of how to scale a business in the booming industry. And bots are a major part of that. From how to acquire and use the technology to the people behind the most popular bots in the market today, here’s everything you need to know about the controversial software.

Acquiring a bot

Bots, like sneakers, can be difficult to purchase. Most bot makers release their products online via a Twitter announcement. There are only a limited number of copies available for purchase at retail. And once sold out, bots often resell for thousands of dollars.

Some private groups specialize in helping its paying members nab bots when they drop. These bot-nabbing groups use software extensions – basically other bots – to get their hands on the coveted technology that typically costs a few hundred dollars at release.

Once the software is purchased, members decide if they want to keep or “flip” the bots to make a profit on the resale market. Here’s how one bot nabbing and reselling group, Restock Flippers, keeps its 600 paying members on top of the bot market.

How to properly use bots

While bots are relatively widespread among the sneaker reselling community, they are not simple to use by any means. Insider spoke to teen reseller Leon Chen who has purchased four bots. He outlined the basics of using bots to grow a reselling business.

Most bots require a proxy, or an intermediate server that disguises itself as a different browser on the internet. This allows resellers to purchase multiple pairs from one website at a time and subvert cart limits. Each of those proxies are designed to make it seem as though the user is coming from different sources.

For example, “data center”proxies make it appear as though the user is accessing the website from a large company or corporation while a “residential proxy” is traced back to an alternate home address. Whichever type you use, proxies are an important part of setting up a bot.  In some cases, like when a website has very strong anti-botting software, it is better not to even use a bot at all.

The anti-bot faction

While most resellers see bots as a necessary evil in the sneaker world, some sneakerheads are openly working to curb the threat. SoleSavy is an exclusive group that uses bots to beat resellers at their own game, while also preventing members from exploiting the system themselves. The platform, which recently raised $2 million in seed funding, aims to foster a community of sneaker enthusiasts who are not interested in reselling. 

We spoke to one of the group’s founders to hear about how members are taking on the botting community. 

The people behind the technology

In many cases, bots are built by former sneakerheads and self-taught developers who make a killing from their products. Insider has spoken to three different developers who have created popular sneaker bots in the market, all without formal coding experience.

Splashforce, a bot that services nearly 4,000 customers, was created by an 18-year-old who had previously described himself as “dirt poor.” The teen founder and co-owner of Adept, another major sneaker bot, initially earned money via a paper route. Meanwhile, the maker of Hayha Bot, also a teen, notably describes the bot making industry as “a gold rush.”

Each of these self-taught bot makers have sold over $380,000 worth of bots since their businesses launched, according to screenshots of payment dashboards viewed by Insider.

Read the original article on Business Insider

JOIN US TODAY FOR A FREE EVENT: How small businesses can master their taxes in 2021

insider events small businesses taxes 2021 2x1

Filing taxes might be a bit different for small business owners this year. Many businesses were greatly impacted by months of mandatory closures, lost essential revenue, civil unrest, government loans and grants, and layoffs. 

To find out what all these things mean for your taxes, please join our small business reporter Jennifer Ortakales Dawkins and tax expert panelists. We’ll cover how the pandemic, PPP loans, and revenue losses could impact your filings. 

The hour-long chat is slated for March 2 at 1 pm ET/10 am PST, and we want your questions. 

Meet our panelists: 

Robbin Caruso is a partner in the tax department and the co-leader of the National Tax Controversy group of Prager Metis.

Nicole Davis is the founder and principal of Butler-Davis, a tax and accounting firm located outside of Atlanta, GA. 

Rick Lazio is the senior vice president of alliantgroup and a former US representative.

Topics to be discussed include: 

  • What’s changed from last year’s tax forms and rules
  • How to claim a PPP loan or EIDL advance on your taxes
  • What businesses can do if they had a significant amount of revenue loss or layoffs
  • How to claim the Employee Retention Credit (ERC)
  • What documents you’ll need to file
  • How to get tax credits and incentives

If you’d like to submit a question to be answered, please fill out this brief form. The experts will also be taking reader questions live. 

You can sign up here.

Read the original article on Business Insider

JOIN US ON TUESDAY FOR A FREE EVENT: How small businesses can master their taxes in 2021

insider events small businesses taxes 2021 2x1

Filing taxes might be a bit different for small business owners this year. Many businesses were greatly impacted by months of mandatory closures, lost essential revenue, civil unrest, government loans and grants, and layoffs. 

To find out what all these things mean for your taxes, please join our small business reporter Jennifer Ortakales Dawkins and tax expert panelists. We’ll cover how the pandemic, PPP loans, and revenue losses could impact your filings. 

The hour-long chat is slated for March 2 at 1 pm ET/10 am PST, and we want your questions. 

Meet our panelists: 

Robbin Caruso is a partner in the tax department and the co-leader of the National Tax Controversy group of Prager Metis.

Nicole Davis is the founder and principal of Butler-Davis, a tax and accounting firm located outside of Atlanta, GA. 

Rick Lazio is the senior vice president of alliantgroup and a former US representative.

Topics to be discussed include: 

  • What’s changed from last year’s tax forms and rules
  • How to claim a PPP loan or EIDL advance on your taxes
  • What businesses can do if they had a significant amount of revenue loss or layoffs
  • How to claim the Employee Retention Credit (ERC)
  • What documents you’ll need to file
  • How to get tax credits and incentives

If you’d like to submit a question to be answered, please fill out this brief form. The experts will also be taking reader questions live. 

You can sign up here.

Read the original article on Business Insider

The FDA has authorized a 3rd coronavirus vaccine


Today in healthcare news: Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine gets emergency authorization, a fun but far-from-normal summer, and what the Cigna-MDLive deal means for the future of telehealth

johnson and johnson covid vaccine
Johnson & Johnson’s coronavirus vaccine is delivered as a single shot, while both Pfizer and Moderna’s require two jabs.

The US just authorized a 3rd coronavirus shot, adding a convenient, single-dose option to boost the rollout

Read the full story from Andrew Dunn here>>

summer pandemic in the US 4x3

This summer is going to be fun – but far from normal

Read the full story from Andrew Dunn, Hilary Brueck, Aria Bendix, and Patricia Kelly Yeo here>>


$74 billion health insurer Cigna is buying MDLive. Here’s what it means for the future of telehealth companies as they look to survive in a post-pandemic world.

Read the full story from Blake Dodge and Shelby Livingston here>>

More stories we’re reading:

– Lydia

Read the original article on Business Insider

Transgender TikTok creators say the app’s mysterious ‘For You’ page is a breeding ground for transphobia and targeted harassment

tiktok creators and transphobia 2x1
TikTok has been a meeting place for LGBTQ people, but creators say they face transphobia and harassment on the app.

  • TikTok has skyrocketed in popularity, especially among LGBTQ communities. 
  • But trans creators say they’ve experienced transphobia ranging from ignorance to death threats.
  • “There is no place for hate and harassment on TikTok,” the company told Insider in a statement.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Almost a year ago, Chelsea Brickham posted on TikTok for the first time.

The video got more than 500,000 views. Brickham, a 38-year-old trans woman living in Florida, posted photos of her transition after seeing other trans creators do the same. About 2,000 positive and encouraging comments appeared underneath the video.

“My initial reaction to TikTok was that it was such a positive and nurturing environment,” she told Insider. “And that’s why that actually saved me. It pulled me out of that dark place at that moment. It really did wonders for my mental health.”

Chelsea Brickham.

Brickham was days away from getting her long-awaited gender-affirming surgeries when the coronavirus pandemic caused the hospital to cancel them. Facing the cancellation, the costs of private health insurance, and a shift to telework, Brickham turned to TikTok for “some kind of distraction, and maybe brief levity,” she said.

“It kind of takes my breath away – even now, thinking back in retrospect – because every single one of those 2,500 comments was supportive and positive and just telling me things I needed to hear,” Brickham said.

Months later, the positivity came to a screeching halt.

One of her recent videos, which got more than 1 million views and wasn’t unlike the rest of her content, led to a flood of transphobic and other attacks on her appearance.

Brickham said the experience shattered her perception of the app. She wasn’t sure why this video, in which she responded to a commentator who had misgendered her, had elicited such a different response.

Most of the comments appeared to come from young, straight, cisgender men who misgendered her, she said. For these types of comments, Brickham said, she often visited the commenter’s profile to educate them.

“I just kind of deal with it with a factual, straightforward approach,” she said, adding that she often tells transphobic commentators they don’t have the “credentials” to make claims about her gender.

In one more egregious comment that Brickham reported, a TikTok user said it was a “shame” that cancer, which she’d recently had, didn’t kill her.

Trans TikTokers find community, but also abuse and harassment

In 2019, TikTok, the vertical-video app once known as, made headlines when LGBTQ teens began using it to come out to their friends and family members.

In January 2020, The Washington Post dubbed TikTok “the soul of the LGBTQ internet,” adding that young LGBTQ people used TikTok “to share their raw feelings with each other” in a way not seen on legacy social-media platforms. As of this February, videos using the hashtag “#lgbtq” had more than 665 million views.

TikTok, owned by the Chinese company ByteDance, has publicly aligned itself with LGBTQ communities, and last year it donated $3 million to LGBTQ-focused organizations such as GLAAD and the Trevor Project.

But transgender creators say TikTok is an unwitting accelerator for transphobia and harassment.

Half a dozen trans TikTok creators, with a combined follower count of more than 3.1 million, told Insider that while the app had allowed them to build impressive followings and find a sense of community, its design appeared to perpetuate a culture of transphobia and harassment.

Creators detailed the harassment and abuse they’d experienced on the app; they all said they had experienced it to a greater degree on TikTok than on other social media platforms, in part because of the app’s central algorithm-driven feed. TikTok features – like duets, which allow users to respond to another user’s videos – have also been a tool for harassers.

Their concerns and experiences raise questions about TikTok’s ability to moderate content on the app.

Trans creators said their experience soured weeks after they began posting on TikTok

Last spring, before COVID-19 travel restrictions were imposed, Madelyn Whitley, a 20-year-old transgender woman and model living in New York, joined TikTok. She and her twin sister had traveled to France for fashion week and were living there.

Whitley, who had about 10 followers, posted a video of her and her sister, also a trans woman and model, for Trans Day of Visibility, a holiday that honors and recognizes trans people. The video “barely took off,” gaining about 20,000 likes, she said. But the attention skyrocketed from there.

“Everyone was so nice on that first video,” said Whitley, who as of February had 300,000 followers on the app. “And then I think down the line, maybe in September, I posted another one that had the complete opposite reaction – most of it was negative.

“I remember my first hate comment,” she added. The commenter had misgendered her and told her she was going to hell, Whitley said.

“I don’t know why,” Whitley added, “but some of the comments can get really, really transphobic, and we haven’t really experienced this anywhere else.”

Madelyn Whitley
Madelyn Whitley.

Hateful behavior on TikTok can take many forms, including comments, collaborations, and direct messages.

Creators who spoke with Insider said transphobia on TikTok existed on a spectrum, ranging from ignorance about trans issues to more insidious behavior. Many said that transphobic comments and other hateful messages appeared to come from young users, bucking a perception of Gen Z as a progressive and socially conscious monolith.

A TikTok representative told Insider in an emailed statement that the platform “is a community with millions of diverse creators, and the platform wouldn’t be what it is today without the range of voices and experiences our users bring.”

“There is no place for hate and harassment on TikTok, and we’re committed to creating a safe space for our users, continually improving our protections for the LGBTQ community and other underrepresented groups, and being an active ally,” the statement said.

In December, the company said it was updating its community guidelines to make them more “inclusive and thoughtful,” adding rules and updating policies to prohibit doxxing, cyberstalking, and sexual harassment.

But negative messages are “as small as ignorant comments of people just commenting one word, ‘woman,’ or, like, saying I can never be a man,” Aiden Mann, a 26-year-old transgender man from Tennessee who has 2.2 million TikTok followers, told Insider.

“I’ve had people who messaged me on an anonymous account and, in detail, explain to me if they had the opportunity to kill me how they would do it,” he added. Mann said others had suggested he end his life by suicide.

The ‘wrong side’ of TikTok

In essence, TikTok functions as a custom cable network. The app’s algorithm acts as a network executive, deciding which videos get spread to certain users, based largely on what it suspects to be the user’s taste because of their past behavior.

Central to TikTok is the “For You” page. While users can watch videos from a list of accounts they follow, the primary means of consumption is the seemingly infinite stream of videos found on the page.

Platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, and especially YouTube similarly offer content, curated by an algorithm, from sources beyond the users a person has followed. But none uses such a system as its primary content driver in the way that TikTok does.

“I like to think of TikTok as a broadcast platform, like a channel that you’re watching rather than a social network,” said Daniel Sinclair, an independent researcher who studies TikTok and other social-media platforms, “because although you do have access to your following, TikTok is still controlling what you see.”

It is “entirely possible” that the “For You” page, led by TikTok’s algorithm and human moderators, could inadvertently lead to harassment, Sinclair said.

“I think the broadcast-first distinction is big because it’s TikTok that’s directing content and directing what you see more than many other platforms,” he added. 

In a blog post in June, TikTok shed light on how the page works. Wired described the post as part of TikTok’s effort to increase transparency as US lawmakers expressed concerns about the company’s connections to China.

TikTok first shows a video to a small batch of people it thinks will be interested in it, based on a list of factors outlined in the blog post. Some of these users already follow the creator, while others don’t. Videos from accounts with larger followings may have an advantage, but “neither follower count nor whether the account has had previous high-performing videos are direct factors in the recommendation system,” the company said.

If the video performs well (users like or share the clip, or watch the entire video), the algorithm recommends it to more people. The process is repeated; if a video continues to be popular, it can quickly go viral.

The page has been credited with driving TikTok’s meteoric rise since the app emerged from in 2018, about a year after ByteDance purchased it. It has paved the way for TikTok’s culture of uber-fast virality and blink-and-you’ll-miss-it trends. Users with small followings have the opportunity for viral fame – their videos can be distributed to thousands and sometimes millions of strangers within hours.

Carolina Are, who researches online moderation and algorithmic bias at City, University of London, told Insider that TikTok differed from other platforms like Instagram because the app’s algorithm and focus on short videos made it easier for content to go viral.

Are, also a blogger and pole-dancing instructor with more than 68,000 TikTok followers, has spoken out about concerns around TikTok’s moderation system and said that the platform’s nature doesn’t provide many opportunities for honest conversations between creators and users.

“Because of that, because there’s no meaningful interaction, it feels like creators do not look human to people who comment, and therefore it feels very easy to just hate,” she said.

Trans creators told Insider that the “For You” page allowed them to quickly find a community and support on the app.

But there’s a hefty con to the page, they said, in that they have little control over their audience, and the audience has little control over what shows up on their screen.

“I’m starting to understand that there are different facets of going viral on TikTok,” Brickham said, alluding to the concept of “straight TikTok” versus “alt TikTok,” in which users experience vastly different types of content, memes, trends, and creators.

“There’s obviously the GLBT-positive sort of feed. And then there’s obviously, like, the conservative side and the Trump feed. And you’ve got the heterosexual sort of feed as well,” she said.

Mann also described an “LGBTQ side” of the platform where his videos often remained. But he said his experience would swiftly sour if his content ended up elsewhere.

Fletcher Furst, an 18-year-old from Alberta, Canada, argued that the algorithm behind the “For You” page was just part of the story. Furst speculated that transphobic users search for content from trans creators via hashtags like #lgbtq or #trans, leading TikTok to recommend similar content to them in the future.

Creators told Insider that the transphobia they faced on TikTok was more intense than on other social-media platforms. Unlike other apps that rely largely on a connection between creators and their followers, TikTok creators broadcast to communities that can include not only their followers but legions of people with similar interests who’ve never seen their content before.

Suddenly, the creators said, TikTok videos can end up in an entirely different community.

“Sometimes for some reason – I have no idea why – my transgender videos end up on straight TikTok, or the conservative side of TikTok, or religious TikTok,” Mann said. “And then I get the really bad bashing and hateful comments and death threats and stuff like that.”

In contrast, he said, “on Instagram, the only people who are going to see your posts, more than likely, are the people that are following you, and then same with Twitter and Facebook.”

On other platforms, “people can share stuff, and they can get to the wrong side, but it’s a lot more difficult,” he said. “With TikTok, your video can end up on the wrong side of TikTok any day, at any time. Then when it blows up, it goes on and on.”

Trans creators say their videos were removed while abusive content remained

Samuel Monger, a 17-year-old trans man from Oregon, estimated that about 10 of his videos had been removed from TikTok, for reasons that weren’t exactly clear to him. He said the deleted videos weren’t sexual or violent but involved him speaking about his experiences as a trans person.

He said TikTok had told him that these videos violated its community guidelines. He appealed, but the videos weren’t reinstated, leaving him frustrated. He tried to re-upload videos, and they were deleted again, Monger said. He was confused about why the videos were removed in the first place, but he moved on to new content.

In one video, which the company reinstated after Insider inquired about its removal, Monger showed off different facets of his style, modeling dressed-down and dressed-up outfits.

He said other trans creators had faced similar punishments when trying to, for example, educate trans youth on how to safely bind their chest to create a more masculine or nonbinary appearance.

Monger said that while he’d never shown his chest on TikTok, it was frustrating to see cisgender men – often some of TikTok’s biggest stars – appearing shirtless in videos, “advertising their bodies.”

TikTok has previously been criticized over its moderation policies. Last March, The Intercept reported that a company memo had in some markets directed moderators to keep users that they judged to be disabled, poor, or ugly from the “For You” page. At the time, the company said that the policies were an early attempt at preventing bullying, that they were no longer in use, and that they had never been implemented in the US.

A study by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute’s International Cyber Policy Centre published in September found that hashtags related to LGBTQ issues had been suppressed on the platform in at least eight languages.

Sinclair speculated that the policies were designed not to mitigate harassment but to limit content the company viewed as “unsightly.” He said it pointed toward a larger issue as TikTok’s Chinese parent company expanded to new markets and navigated content moderation.

Furst told Insider he’d also had several videos removed and was told that they’d violated TikTok’s community guidelines.

“I had a video where I tried to speak up on my experience being bullied in high school for being transgender,” he said. “And that video got taken down right away. I don’t know why. They just said it went against their guidelines.

“Maybe ’cause I just mentioned being trans, but then there are videos that are still up of people encouraging harm towards trans people, and it’s just insane,” he added. “It’s like, how come that stays up and my content gets taken down?”

The video, first uploaded in November, was reinstated by TikTok in February after Insider asked the company about its removal.


please someone make this into one of those things where they play the piano to how you talk.. #fyp#foryoupage#alt#emo#highschool#piano

♬ original sound – Fletcher

In August, Eric Han, TikTok’s US head of safety, said that since January it had removed more than 380,000 videos, 64,000 comments, and 1,300 accounts for violating its policies on hate speech.

“To be clear, these numbers don’t reflect a 100% success rate in catching every piece of hateful content or behavior, but they do indicate our commitment to action,” Han said.

Han said TikTok was updating its hate-speech policy, removing hateful content from the app, “increasing cultural awareness” in content moderation, improving transparency, and working with its teams and partners “to invest in our ability to detect and triage hateful or abusive behavior to our enforcement teams as quickly as possible.”

Han also said the company was training its content moderators on the difference between a marginalized group using a slur “as a term of empowerment” and a person using the same word hatefully.

“Educating our content moderation teams on these important distinctions is ongoing work, and we strive to get this right for our users,” Han said.

Mann said he’d been frustrated by TikTok’s inaction after he reported multiple videos he found transphobic.

“A lot of the videos that I reported come back saying that it’s not against community guidelines. I’m kind of in shock,” he said. “This person is literally making transphobic comments or making transphobic jokes. How is that not discrimination?”


Reply to @mikeski410 🤣🤣🤣

♬ original sound – Arianna Hailey

Furst said TikTok would be more inclusive if it allowed creators to designate their videos as “educational,” to “be able to educate people about trans stuff without it being taken as sexual and then be taken down.”

All the creators who spoke with Insider said TikTok could change its community guidelines to better protect trans users.

Otherwise, Furst said, “it definitely feels like that app just wasn’t created for you.”

Hateful comments on TikTok can have real-life effects on trans communities

“Trans youth are continually being retraumatized through harassment that they experience both in the world that they live in and also when they show up online,” Dr. Ric Matthews, a psychotherapist in New York who works with LGBTQ communities, told Insider.

But when it comes to apps like TikTok, “not using these platforms really isn’t an option at this point,” Matthews said. “It’s an inescapable way of connecting and communicating and a necessity for social survival.”

Matthews added that “when harassment, bullying, and different types of violence that they experience in these spaces happens, it’s exacerbating isolation and alienation to people who are already battling to have safety in spaces that they occupy physically.”

Harassment on social media can also set back trans youth who are developing their identities, said Dr. Melissa Robinson-Brown, a psychologist in New York who works with young people.

“I think one of the reasons it’s pretty harmful is because especially with our generation today, so much of their time is spent on social media and on platforms like TikTok,” she told Insider.

“They’re building their communities, finding their tribe and their friends,” she added. “And so to see the transphobia, to see the negativity and the discrimination, can really be harmful to self-esteem-building and that sense of self-worth that is really just so critical for youth in general.”

Monger told Insider that while he could typically brush off hate-filled comments, he worried that the transphobia could affect other young and impressionable trans people on TikTok.

“I’m confident in myself, but there are kids who are not confident in their identity,” Monger said. “And seeing people say that they want to kill people really does not help them.”

Samuel Monger
Samuel Monger.

Trans youth are at a higher risk than their peers of attempting suicide. A study published by the American Academy of Pediatrics in 2018 detailed a survey of about 120,000 young people, conducted from 2012 to 2015, in which 51% of trans boys and 30% of trans girls said they had attempted suicide, compared with 18% of cisgender girls and 10% of cisgender boys.

Trans TikTokers told Insider that hateful messages targeted their appearance or included problematic phrases like “What’s your real name?”

Mann, who said he had struggled with his appearance after multiple top surgeries – procedures to reshape the chest and remove breast tissue that left him with scars – said users left nasty comments about his body.

“People attack that all the time,” Mann said. “I’m still hoping to get them fixed.”

Mann shared with Insider four TikTok videos posted from April to June, each with more than 6,000 likes, that made fun of his chest. He said that he’d reported the videos to TikTok but that they weren’t removed.

TikTok removed all four of the videos after Insider flagged them.

“It makes me mad that they only removed them to seem to cover their a–,” Mann said.

Jade Marie Eichelberger, a 19-year-old trans woman from South Carolina, told Insider that her experience with transphobia on TikTok involved users’ desire to hear details of her transition and the trauma of being a Black trans woman.

“They really want you to talk about everything trans-related, down from the surgeries to how it makes you feel and how people treat you,” she said. “And sometimes you don’t really want to think about that or create about that, because cisgender people are not pressured to make videos about their trauma.

“Especially trans women of color, we’re always pressured to tell stories of things that have happened to us, because people want to use us as an example as to why people should be nicer to trans folks,” she added. “They always go for the people who were the most marginalized within the community to hear those sad and traumatic stories.”

Jade Marie Eichelberger
Marie Eichelberger.

Eichelberger said her videos that homed in on her transition or her experience as a trans woman performed well, but her videos about other topics seemed to fall out of favor.

She and other trans creators often field inappropriate and transphobic requests from TikTok users asking them to show their “real voice” or to upload pictures from their childhood, she said.

She added that while some creators might not have a problem with that, the requests and pressure to make that kind of content were rude and transphobic, implying that her identity is part of a performance.

“I don’t really feel comfortable with doing that,” Eichelberger said. “Am I ashamed of my childhood pictures? Hell to the hell no. I was a cute kid. But because I know why people want to see them, it makes me uncomfortable.”

Whitley said she’d had to alter how she operates on TikTok after receiving a series of transphobic comments that were fueled by a popular TikTok creator.

Chris, known on the app as @Donelij, would use the split-screen duet feature to react to videos of gay and trans creators. Chris’ smile would turn into a frown as videos of people skirting gender norms or photos displaying a person’s transition appeared. His videos would often get more than a million views. When his account was banned, he had 2.5 million followers.

“He just kept dueting them over and over and sending thousands of transphobes to me,” Whitley said.

While TikTok banned his first account last year, Chris continued to post videos to millions of followers using other accounts. TikTok banned an account he was using in February after Insider inquired about it.

Chris told Insider he was “not transphobic” and declined to comment further. Last year, he told The New York Times that he had been the target of racist harassment on TikTok. His facial expressions’ were meant as jokes, he said.

For Whitley, the videos had consequences that were far from funny.

Whitley said she’d had to limit comments on her content to prevent users from sharing her deadname (the name she went by before her transition), her address, and her phone number, all of which she said people had threatened to post.

Whitley said that since the duets stopped, some of the negative attention had subsided – but she estimated that about half of the comments she receives are negative or outwardly transphobic. She said she’d become “desensitized” to them.

“I don’t take them to heart,” Whitley said. “I’m stronger than that, and it kind of just boosts my engagement. I’m just going to take it as a positive and move on instead of focusing on their negativity.”

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SIGN UP HERE FOR OUR LIVE EVENT ON THURSDAY: Next-Gen founders on racial equity and inclusion in tech

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(L-R) Urenna Okonkwo, Jordan Walker, Vernon Coleman

The Black Lives Matter protests last summer helped fuel a new drive for diversity and inclusion in the workplace. But how far have we come since then? And how much farther do we have to go? 

Every industry in Corporate America has its own issues to grapple with. Insider is taking a deep dive into tech to talk to Next-Gen founders about racial equity and inclusion in this industry. 

On Thursday, February 25th at 12 PM ET, Insider’s entrepreneur reporter Dominic-Madori Davis will moderate a panel featuring Vernon Coleman, CEO and cofounder of the video networking app Realtime, Jordan Walker cofounder of the audio messaging app Yac, and Urenna Okonkwo, founder of the finance app Cashmere.

They’ll talk about their journeys in Silicon Valley and tech, the importance of mentorship, access to capital, and opportunities for Black founders looking to launch businesses.

They will also take questions from the audience. 

You can sign up here to watch. 

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JOIN US ON MARCH 2: How small businesses can master their taxes in 2021

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Filing taxes might be a bit different for small business owners this year. Many businesses were greatly impacted by months of mandatory closures, lost essential revenue, civil unrest, government loans and grants, and layoffs. 

To find out what all these things mean for your taxes, please join our small business reporter Jennifer Ortakales Dawkins and tax expert panelists. We’ll cover how the pandemic, PPP loans, and revenue losses could impact your filings. 

The hour-long chat is slated for March 2 at 1 pm ET/10 am PST, and we want your questions. 

Meet our panelists: 

Robbin Caruso is a partner in the tax department and the co-leader of the National Tax Controversy group of Prager Metis.

Nicole Davis is the founder and principal of Butler-Davis, a tax and accounting firm located outside of Atlanta, GA. 

Dean Zerbe is the national managing director of alliantgroup and a former senior counsel to the US Senate Finance Committee. 

Topics to be discussed include: 

  • What’s changed from last year’s tax forms and rules
  • How to claim a PPP loan or EIDL advance on your taxes
  • What businesses can do if they had a significant amount of revenue loss or layoffs
  • How to claim the Employee Retention Credit (ERC)
  • What documents you’ll need to file
  • How to get tax credits and incentives

If you’d like to submit a question to be answered, please fill out this brief form. The experts will also be taking reader questions live. 

You can sign up here.

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How Chick-fil-A is trying to keep drive-thru workers safe as long lines force employees to face harsh weather this winter

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  • Chick-fil-A relies on employees to work outside at drive-thrus, even in intense weather conditions.
  • The chain has introduced winter coats and heated canopies to keep employees safe and comfortable.
  • Four employees told Insider about what it’s really like at the beloved fast-food franchise.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Chick-fil-A is known for friendly employees and good service. But things aren’t always so cheery for some workers behind the scenes. 

“I’ve been out 3.5 hours on meal delivery when it was 10 degrees or less,” one 21-year-old employee at a Chick-fil-A in the Midwest told Insider. “We couldn’t see the end of our parking lot because of how thick this storm was. I had literal chunks of ice in my hair.”

The worker said that she has worked outside in snow, rain, and hail. Chick-fil-A told Insider that it prioritizes worker safety and employees get frequent breaks.

Chick-fil-A has long been hailed as a drive-thru success story, with customers happy to wait in line for an average of more than eight minutes – the longest in the fast food – to get their chicken sandwiches. 

However, with Chick-fil-A’s drive-thru business booming in the pandemic, some workers are dealing with more pressure than ever before. Insider spoke with four Chick-fil-A employees, in four different states, about working the chain’s drive-thru lines.

Employees describe working outside in freezing weather, as the chain sends employees directly to cars to speed up drive-thrus. At the same time, workers said that Chick-fil-A is rolling out new strategies to keep them safe and comfortable, from winter jackets to the polarizing “pod.” 

Some Chick-fil-A workers say they struggle to stay warm, as the chain depends on them working outside

In recent years, it has become an increasingly common practice for Chick-fil-A workers to walk up to cars to personally take orders, in an effort to speed up the line. 

“They’ll put their employees out in that drive-thru line to take your order, in some instances, very far away from the actual physical store,” Kalinowski Equity Research founder Mark Kalinowski told Insider.

“For the massive lines that a lot of them have, I do think that helps speed things up,” Kalinowski continued. “It helps give people confidence that even when they’re entering a big, long line of cars, that it’s going to be worth the wait and the wait is not going to be all that tremendously bad.” 

While having employees take orders on tablets can speed up business, it also requires employees to spend time outside in some less-than-ideal conditions, as the four employees Insider spoke to shared.

An Indiana Chick-fil-A employee said his restaurant policy meant that workers get assigned to work outside at the drive-thru at temperatures of 25 degrees or above, regardless of wind chill. When temperatures drop below 25 degrees, workers 17 and younger are swapped out in 15-minute intervals, or an employee over 18 takes over, according to the policy at his Indiana location.

During cold shifts, the employee in Indiana told Insider that the general rule is to stay outside “as long as you can.” He says employees who ask for a replacement typically get one within ten to fifteen minutes. A Minnesota employee told Insider that at his location, drive-thru workers are allowed to go inside for breaks when they need to, and outdoor workers are brought inside by 6:45 at this time of year. 

An employee in another location in the Midwest said that at her store the policy is not to make anyone go outside once it feels likes 25 degrees, although this is not strictly enforced.

Chick-fil-A said that operations vary by restaurants, and that that locations have the authority to pause curbside delivery when necessary, especially in the case of inclement weather and darkness. 

“Our restaurant teams have worked tirelessly to share a smile through their masks and deliver a seamless, contactless experience, primarily through our drive-thru and curbside service as most dining rooms remain closed,” the company said in a statement. 

CFA Henrietta

Chick-fil-A is creating new fixes for employees working outside

According to the Indiana employee, workers take multiple steps to deal with frigid temperatures. 

On colder days, the Indiana employee usually wears a “hoodie, gloves, light jacket, and parka,” he said. The Midwestern employee wears a fleece jacket, winter jacket, and snow pants along with boots, a hat, and gloves on the coldest days. A 16-year-old employee in a Minnesota location confirmed that the company provides warm weather gear necessary for working cold shifts, though he is responsible for some pieces, like boots and thermal underwear. 

Chick-fil-A provides employees with a light jacket and a parka, and they can wear anything underneath as long as the uniform pieces are on top.

The company told Insider that it released new winter apparel this year which restaurant operators can order for employees. The new gear includes gloves, base layers, boots, and a jacket designer to keep the wearer warm in sub-zero temperatures. However, the company said workers would not be outside in temperatures that low. 

CFA Weather pod.

The other weather protection gear provided by Chick-fil-A is more controversial among employees.

Weather pods are neon yellow and look almost like a combination of a small tent and a crossing guard’s vest. Many people are “uncomfortable or too prideful,” to wear the pods, the Indiana employee told Insider. However, he likes them, saying “it keeps us dry, keeps iPads dry, blocks out the wind, and makes it more tolerable.”

“Restaurant Team Members embody the spirit of Chick-fil-A and there is nothing more important than their safety,” the company said in a statement to Insider. 

Chick-fil-A said that as the company adjusted its drive-thrus strategies during the pandemic, safety was fundamental, whether that be protection from the weather or from COVID-19. 

“We recognize our Operators’ Team Members are working extra hard to accommodate an increase in drive-thru and delivery orders while most restaurant dining rooms remain closed during this time, and we are grateful for their commitment to providing guests with our signature service and hospitality despite the many challenges of the past year,” the statement continued. 

The chain is also testing some high-tech solutions. Recently, a TikTok went viral showing a Chick-fil-A taking an order via FaceTime, allowing the employee to stay safe and warm inside. 

Chick-fil-A said in a statement to Insider that the TikTok showed essentially the “same ‘face-to-face’ ordering you’ve likely seen in the drive-thru, just done virtually.”

“Some restaurants are using this during extreme weather as another measure to protect Team Members and/or for additional social distancing during COVID,” Chick-fil-A continued. “It allows the Team Member to stay inside, while still offering guests the friendly customer experience of a smiling Team Member.”

Chick-fil-A’s long lines are giving workers some new problems to handle 

Drive-thrus give employees other problems to handle besides harsh weather.

Insider found that Chick-fil-A has faced at least four lawsuits from local businesses and customers related to its drive-thru lanes since the pandemic began. Other business owners told Insider that out-of-control drive-thru lines are hurting their businesses, trapping in cars and driving away customers.

Often, it’s up to these employees to handle the angry customers and business owners. The Indiana employee said he has encountered customers who have become “aggressive” over enforcing mask policies, leading to arguments. 

CFA Henrietta

The Indiana Chick-fil-A worker said a nearby local Applebee’s escalated drive-thru complaints to the authorities. According to the employee, the city ordered Chick-fil-A to reroute the drive-thru, which often goes down a main street and blocks traffic.

“We get overwhelmed and have nowhere else to put it,” the 17-year-old supervisor told Insider.

The location finally reached an agreement with the city that requires the chain to speed up work on a remodeled drive-thru, which will have two lanes to cut down on traffic.

The remodel comes with other perks for workers, too. An overhang over the drive-thru lanes will block out rain and sun. They will also come equipped with fans and heaters, all of which could make outdoor shifts easier on employees.

Do you have a story to share about a retail or restaurant chain? Email this reporter at

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