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TikTok reinstates banned teen who criticised China
Via TikTok @getmefamouspartthree

TikTok reinstates banned teen who criticised China

Feroza Aziz was blocked after she shared a video of a ‘make-up tutorial’ in which she discussed the China’s treatment of Uighur Muslims

Chinese-owned social media app TikTok has been forced to apologise after blocking 17-year-old Feroza Aziz’s account after she posted a video criticising China’s treatment of Uighur Muslims.

In what looks like a make-up tutorial, Aziz says: “I’m going to teach you guys how to get long lashes. The first thing you need to do is get your lash curler, curl your lashes – obviously – then you’re going to put them down and use your phone that you’re using right now to search what’s happening in China.”

The teen goes on to discuss how the Chinese government is “throwing innocent Muslims” into “concentration camps”, “separating families from each other, kidnapping them, murdering them, raping them, forcing them to eat pork, forcing them to drink, forcing them to convert to different religions”.

She continues: “People that go into these concentration camps don’t come back alive. This is another Holocaust, yet no one is talking about it.”

Aziz created two more videos on the topic, the second of which continues the ruse of a make-up tutorial because, as she says, “I say that so TikTok doesn’t take down my videos”. In the next clips, the teen urges her followers to raise awareness, saying “our voices can do so much”, and shares website links that offer further information. The final video touches on other global issues, including protests in Colombiabombings in Afghanistan, and detention camps in the US.

On November 25 Aziz tweeted: “Hey guys my TikTok video has been going viral lately about what China is doing to Muslims in their concentration camps. TikTok suspended my account for trying to spread awareness. Please keep sharing on here!!” The teen later wrote that the platform had taken down her video, “proof that China is using TikTok to not let the truth be set free”. 

Shortly after Aziz shared that tweet, in which she tagged Donald Trump, her account was reinstated. TikTok have now claimed that the ban was due to the teenager’s prior conduct on the app, not Chinese politics, adding that “human moderation error” was to blame for the temporary removal of the video.

Eric Han, the app’s head of safety for the US, said in a statement that Aziz had been blocked earlier this month after posting a video that contained an image of Osama Bin Laden. As TikTok don’t allow users to set up more than one account on the same device, the platform claims Aziz’s new account – which she created after her initial one was banned – was disabled after a routine “platform-wide enforcement” of the rules.

The statement continued: “Because the user’s banned account (@getmefamousplzsir) was associated with the same device as her second account (@getmefamouspartthree), this had the effect of locking her out of being able to access her second, active account from that device.” 

Aziz didn’t accept TikTok’s explanation, writing on Twitter: “This isn’t the first time TikTok has tried to silence me about the Uyghur genocide.” The teen shared another video she’d previously made on the topic, explaining that this was also taken down. 

“Do I believe they took (my account) away because of an unrelated satirical video that was deleted on a previous deleted account of mine?” Aziz continued. “Right after I finished posting a three part video about the Uyghurs? No.”

This isn’t the first time teens have used TikTok in innovative ways – from dancing to their shitty exes’ voicemails to organising strikes in solidarity with their teachers, the app’s users are reinventing the platform.