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A Teen Was Suspended From TikTok After Criticizing China Over Muslim Detention Camps

A Teen Was Suspended From TikTok After Criticizing China Over Muslim Detention Camps

FRANCE-IT-INTERNET-TIKTOK

AFP via Getty Images

Topline: A teenager says she has been suspended from Chinese-owned app TikTok after she posted a viral video condemning China’s treatment of Uighur Muslims that was disguised as a makeup tutorial. 

  • Feroza Aziz tweeted on Monday that TikTok had blocked her from posting for a month, after she published a video over the weekend that generated 500,000+ views. She also tweeted a screenshot of the company warning her that she was suspended due to “multiple violations” of its community guidelines.
  • Aziz starts the 40-second clip by introducing it as a lash-curling tutorial. “Hi guys, I’m going to teach you guys how to get long lashes, so the first thing you need to do is grab your curler and curl your lashes, obviously.” But a few seconds in, she switches subjects and lists alleged abuses committed by Chinese authorities to Uighur Muslims from Xinjiang province in the far-west of China.
  • China has faced international condemnation for the mass detention and attempted “political reeducation” of up to 1 million Uighur and other minority groups, which has increased following the leak of internal government documents outlining its strategy. Aziz later posted a follow-up video containing information on how young viewers can raise awareness for detained Uighurs.
  • But TikTok denies that Aziz was banned because of those videos, and instead says that a previous clip about Osama bin Laden, which she posted to an earlier account of hers, was the cause of her account being banned. They say that content breached their rules on terrorism-related material, a spokeswoman told Forbes.
  • The company also told Forbes that they banned the device on which that earlier account was created a short time afterwards. The spokeswoman said TikTok never took down or interfered with the video about China, and it is still live.
  • Aziz’ cleverly disguised clip is an example of how TikTok’s mostly Gen-Z user base is finding a way to talk about serious issues on the video-sharing app that became a viral hit for its lighthearted and music-themed video clips.

Crucial quote: A TikTok spokeswoman told Forbes: “TikTok does not moderate content due to political sensitivities. A previous account belonging to this user had been banned after she posted a video of Osama Bin Laden, which is a violation of TikTok’s ban on content that includes imagery related to terrorist organizations.

“Another account of hers, @getmefamouspartthree, and its videos— including the eyelash video in question—were not affected and the video continues to receive views.”

Aziz, who has called TikTok’s handling of her accounts “suspicious,” says she has contacted the company for an explanation and is still waiting for then to get in touch with her.

News peg: TikTok, owned by Chinese tech firm ByteDance, has been fending off concerns from U.S. politicians that the app could import Chinese censorship and provide authorities in Beijing with access to sensitive data on U.S. Reuters reported ByteDance was moving to ring fence TikTok from its Chinese operations in a bid to avoid the fate of Beijing Kunlun Tech, which was forced to sell gay dating app Grindr by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States in May.

An October blog post from TikTok says: “Let us be very clear: TikTok does not remove content based on sensitivities related to China,” and that it stores U.S. user data in the U.S. and Singapore.”

Key background: A leak of internal Chinese government documents made to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and published on Sunday details how some 1 million Uighur Muslims have been locked up in prison camps without trial and other serious human rights abuses. For years, Chinese authorities have claimed that the camps, in the Western region of Xinjiang, were “voluntary education and training camps,” and the documents were dismissed as “fake news” by China’s ambassador to the U.K., Liu Xiaoming.

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FRANCE-IT-INTERNET-TIKTOK

AFP via Getty Images

Topline: A teenager says she has been suspended from Chinese-owned app TikTok after she posted a viral video condemning China’s treatment of Uighur Muslims that was disguised as a makeup tutorial. 

  • Feroza Aziz tweeted on Monday that TikTok had blocked her from posting for a month, after she published a video over the weekend that generated 500,000+ views. She also tweeted a screenshot of the company warning her that she was suspended due to “multiple violations” of its community guidelines.
  • Aziz starts the 40-second clip by introducing it as a lash-curling tutorial. “Hi guys, I’m going to teach you guys how to get long lashes, so the first thing you need to do is grab your curler and curl your lashes, obviously.” But a few seconds in, she switches subjects and lists alleged abuses committed by Chinese authorities to Uighur Muslims from Xinjiang province in the far-west of China.
  • China has faced international condemnation for the mass detention and attempted “political reeducation” of up to 1 million Uighur and other minority groups, which has increased following the leak of internal government documents outlining its strategy. Aziz later posted a follow-up video containing information on how young viewers can raise awareness for detained Uighurs.
  • But TikTok denies that Aziz was banned because of those videos, and instead says that a previous clip about Osama bin Laden, which she posted to an earlier account of hers, was the cause of her account being banned. They say that content breached their rules on terrorism-related material, a spokeswoman told Forbes.
  • The company also told Forbes that they banned the device on which that earlier account was created a short time afterwards. The spokeswoman said TikTok never took down or interfered with the video about China, and it is still live.
  • Aziz’ cleverly disguised clip is an example of how TikTok’s mostly Gen-Z user base is finding a way to talk about serious issues on the video-sharing app that became a viral hit for its lighthearted and music-themed video clips.

Crucial quote: A TikTok spokeswoman told Forbes: “TikTok does not moderate content due to political sensitivities. A previous account belonging to this user had been banned after she posted a video of Osama Bin Laden, which is a violation of TikTok’s ban on content that includes imagery related to terrorist organizations.

“Another account of hers, @getmefamouspartthree, and its videos— including the eyelash video in question—were not affected and the video continues to receive views.”

Aziz, who has called TikTok’s handling of her accounts “suspicious,” says she has contacted the company for an explanation and is still waiting for then to get in touch with her.

News peg: TikTok, owned by Chinese tech firm ByteDance, has been fending off concerns from U.S. politicians that the app could import Chinese censorship and provide authorities in Beijing with access to sensitive data on U.S. Reuters reported ByteDance was moving to ring fence TikTok from its Chinese operations in a bid to avoid the fate of Beijing Kunlun Tech, which was forced to sell gay dating app Grindr by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States in May.

An October blog post from TikTok says: “Let us be very clear: TikTok does not remove content based on sensitivities related to China,” and that it stores U.S. user data in the U.S. and Singapore.”

Key background: A leak of internal Chinese government documents made to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and published on Sunday details how some 1 million Uighur Muslims have been locked up in prison camps without trial and other serious human rights abuses. For years, Chinese authorities have claimed that the camps, in the Western region of Xinjiang, were “voluntary education and training camps,” and the documents were dismissed as “fake news” by China’s ambassador to the U.K., Liu Xiaoming.

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