TikTok Unblocks Teen Activist Who Went Viral Talking About Chinese Concentration Camps
Feroza Aziz’s TikTok account was banned after she used the platform to discuss Muslim concentration camps in China. The decision has since been reversed by the social media platform, with an apology issued – but it’s not enough, Aziz says.
The 17-year-old created a three-part series of videos beginning in the style of a makeup tutorial, with the teen instructing viewers how to use an eyelash curler.
However, all was not as it seemed: the posts would soon turn to criticising the Chinese government’s repression of Uighur Muslims, accusing them of throwing innocent people in camps in Xinjiang, ‘kidnapping, raping and murdering them’.
You can see the first video below:
Aziz, who has said she is an Afghan American from New Jersey, told her followers:
Then you’re going to put [the eyelash curler] down and use your phone… to search up what’s happening in China, how they’re getting concentration camps, throwing innocent Muslims in there, separating families from each other, kidnapping them, murdering them, raping them, forcing them to eat pork, forcing them to drink, forcing them to convert.
This is another Holocaust, yet no one is talking about it. Please be aware, please spread awareness in Xinjiang right now.
Aziz said she hid the political talk within a makeup video as she’d had videos deleted in the past. Her profile description reads: ‘Just a Muslim who wants clout. Got deleted last time.’
After posting the videos, which quickly went viral, her account was suspended and blocked from sharing new content – later, her three-part upload regarding the ‘Uighur genocide’ was taken down too. TikTok have now clarified the timeline of events that led to this taking place.
The platform has since put out a press release explaining the suspension – and it’s all to do with one of Aziz’s old accounts, which was banned after a post breached community guidelines regarding terrorist figures (the video apparently included an image of Osama bin Laden, and though the platform conceded it ‘may have’ been intended as satire, their rules were strictly upheld).
Eric Han, Head of Safety at TikTok US, wrote:
As part of a scheduled platform-wide enforcement, the TikTok moderation team banned 2,406 devices associated with accounts that had been banned for one of three types of violations: (1) Terrorism or terrorist imagery, (2) Child exploitation, (3) Spam or similar malicious content.
Because the user’s banned account was associated with the same device as her second account, this had the effect of locking her out of being able to access her second, active account from that device. However, the account itself remained active and accessible, with its videos continuing to receive views.
The statement then clarified the video was deleted due to ‘human moderation error’, as its content does not breach any community guidelines, therefore ‘it should not have been removed’.
Aziz suspects there’s something deeper afoot. She told The Washington Post: ‘TikTok is trying to cover up this whole mess, I won’t let them get away with this.’
TikTok has now pledged to ‘review both the procedural breakdown in this incident, as well as conducting a broader review on our process, to identify areas where we can improve our practices’ – however, the platform is under the magnifying glass at the moment.
Critics have accused TikTok-owner ByteDance of Chinese government bias, to the point that the US government opened an investigation after concerns over privacy and fears the platform is censoring anti-China content.
TikTok denied the allegations, writing in a separate post: ‘We have never been asked by the Chinese government to remove any content and we would not do so if asked. Period.’
If you have a story you want to tell send it to UNILAD via [email protected]