TikTok blocks teen after clip about China's treatment of Uighur Muslims goes viral

TikTok blocks teen after clip about China's treatment of Uighur Muslims goes viral
© AFP/Getty

TikTok, the short-video social media platform, blocked the account of a 17-year-old Muslim American woman following her post earlier this week in which she criticizes the Chinese government's treatment of Uyghur Muslims in Northwest China.

At first, Feroza Aziz's video seems a like a makeup tutorial. But several seconds in, Aziz's switches gears, saying, "Use your phone that you’re using right now to search up what’s happening in China, how they’re getting concentration camps, throwing innocent Muslims in there."

The 40-second video has racked up more than 1.5 million views.


Aziz has since claimed that her account has been suspended by TikTok, The New York Times first reported

TikTok is owned by Chinese social media giant ByteDance, causing many lawmakers to voice concerns over whether the platform censors data at the request of the Chinese government or shares user data.

Josh Gartner, a spokesman at ByteDance, told the Times that Aziz was banned from her account because a previous post featured a photo of Osama Bin Laden, which violated the company's policy against terrorist content.


Aziz, however, asserts that post that TikTok refers to a slur that was regularly directed at her growing up in the U.S.: that she would marry Bin Laden.   

“I think that TikTok should not ban content that doesn’t harm anyone or shows anyone being harmed,” Aziz, who lives in New Jersey, told the Times.

On Wednesday, a TikTok official told CNN that neither the video nor Aziz's account had been removed and that both could still be accessed.

"TikTok does not moderate content due to political sensitivities," the company told the network in a statement.

In an interview earlier this month with the Times, TikTok head Alex Zhu denied any kind of collusion with the Chinese government.