A TikTok video has raised an issue of Chinese censorship on the platform. A TikTok video pretending to give eyelash curling advice has gone viral. Full details.
A TikTok video has raised an issue of Chinese censorship on the platform. A TikTok video of a young woman named Feroza Aziz pretending to give eyelash curling advice has gone viral. In her TikTok video, Aziz was actually condemning China’s crackdown on Muslims in Xinjiang. Shortly after her video went viral, Aziz, who describes herself as “17 Just a Muslim,” complained she had been blocked from posting videos on TikTok, which recently hit 150 crores global installs. TiKTok is owned by Chinese internet company called ByteDance, which is among the world’s most valuable startups.
The video had millions of views across several social media platforms as of publishing this story and had reached far more people on Twitter, with versions of the same video receiving more than 6.5 million views on Twitter. Aziz said she has been blocked from posting on TikTok for a month after uploading her controversial video.
Aziz starts her video telling viewers: “The first thing you need to do is grab your lash curler.” However, she soon changes the subject, saying: “Then you’re going to put it down and use the phone you’re using right now to search 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,” she adds, before returning to the eyelash curling tutorial.
A previous account owned by Aziz, reportedly from New Jersey, was blocked by TikTok over another alleged violation, but the app denied the current profile had been frozen. “TikTok does not moderate content due to political sensitivities,” a spokesperson said.
“In this case, the user’s previous account and associated device were 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 organisations.
Aziz’s new account and its videos, including the video in question, were not affected. As of Wednesday morning, the post had more than 1.5 million views and 501,900 likes, and 600,000 comments. Two follow-up videos in which Aziz again addressed the Xinjiang camps had both received more than 7,000 views.
TikTok under global political pressure
TikTok has been accused of censoring content that may upset the Chinese government. Last month, US Senator Marco Rubio sent a letter to Treasury requesting a CFIUS review of the national-security implications of TIkTok, saying there is “ample and growing evidence” that TikTok is censoring content that is not in line with the Chinese government. In the letter, he said there had been questions about why the app had so few videos of the recent protests in Hong Kong.
Human rights groups and outside experts say more than one million Uighurs and other mostly Muslim minorities have been rounded up in a network of internment camps across the fractious region of Xinjiang. China, after initially denying the camps existed, describes them as vocational schools aimed at dampening the allure of Islamist extremism and violence through education and job training.
Recently, the U.S. government launched a national-security review of TikTok. Several senators have noted concerns about censorship and data collection on TikTok. ByteDance has clarified the Chinese government does not have any jurisdiction over TikTok content.