TikTok apologizes to Feroza Aziz after China Uighur video removed

The popular video app TikTok apologized this week to a teen user after it said it erroneously blocked access to her account and removed one of her videos criticizing Chinese treatment of Uighur Muslims.

Feroza Aziz, 17, on Saturday uploaded what at first appears to be a beauty video but turns out to be her listing the harsh conditions the minority group has faced in China.

The video, as of Wednesday, had garnered more than 1.5 million views, but within days of posting, Aziz could not access her account and the video was briefly taken down.

Aziz tweeted Monday that TikTok had “suspended my account for trying to spread awareness” and tweeted Wednesday that the video was removed and alleged that China was using the app “to not let the truth be set free.”

TikTok is owned by the Beijing-based company ByteDance and has previously come under scrutiny for not showing any information on the Hong Kong protests. A report published in late September by the Guardian found that its moderators were told to censor references to Tienanmen Square and Taiwanese and Tibetan independence.

China has been accused of many human rights violations against Uighur Muslims, including detaining them in internment camps.

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In a blog post apologizing to Aziz, Eric Han, the head of safety at TikTok US, said that Aziz could not access her account because it was linked to another account of hers that had been banned earlier this month for posting an image of Osama bin Laden, which violated the app’s policies against using imagery of terrorists.

Aziz created a new account, but the app had planned to enforce a ban Monday on devices linked to accounts sharing terrorist imagery, child exploitation and spam, Han said.

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