Social media app TikTok has issued a public apology for suspending the account of 17-year-old Feroza Aziz after she posted a video criticizing China's treatment of Uighur Muslims. The teen's video went viral for her unexpected transition to anti-China remarks while giving a makeup tutorial. The Afghan-American young woman begins the 40-second video offering eyelash curling advice to her followers. Seconds into the tutorial, she tells the viewer to put down the lash curler and seamlessly switches to politics.
"Use the phone that you're using right now to search up what's happening in China," she says. "They're getting concentration camps, throwing innocent Muslims in there, separating their families from each other, kidnapping them, murdering them, raping them."Aziz, who resides in New Jersey, used the platform to criticize and denounce the mass internment of minority Muslim minority groups believed to be detained in China's Xinjiang region.
"This is another holocaust, yet no one is talking about it," Aziz added before asking her followers to spread awareness on the matter. The teen's account was suspended shortly after her videos went viral, leading many to suspect TikTok took action against her.
While TikTok is not authorized in China, it is owned by a Chinese company and has faced increasing scrutiny over fears it censors content considered offensive to the Chinese government.TikTok said it removed the eyelash curling video because of a "human moderation error," but TikTok initially said she had been suspended for another video — one with a meme about Osama bin Laden which violated TikTok's policies against images related to terrorist figures. The video clearly features bin Laden in a satirical way for less than one second.
The app ended up reversing its decision and issued a public apology for suspending the teen's account on Wednesday. According to the United Nations, more than 1 million Chinese Uighur Muslims are being detained in government internment camps. China calls these prison camps in Xinjiang province "re-education" facilities meant to fight extremism and separatism in the region. However, the U.S. Congressional-Executive Commission on China describes it as "the largest mass incarceration of a minority population in the world today," and many Western nations have condemned them as mass detention centers designed to eradicate Islamic practices.
TikTok is popular with millions of U.S. teens and young adults, according to The Associated Press, however, some U.S. senators have questioned the app's data collection and censorship of content on the platform that doesn't align with the Chinese government. AP said the U.S. government has launched a national-security review of TikTok.
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