TikTok viewers thought they were just in for a typical tutorial video with Feroza Aziz sharing her knowledge about makeup. But the 17-year-old TikToker abruptly stopped and started calling on viewers to start researching the troubling conditions that Muslims face in China’s detention camps.
In the first seconds of her 40-second video, she gives pieces of advice to her followers about curling lashes and how to make them longer. However, seconds into the tutorial, she tells her viewers to put their eyelashes down and she seamlessly switches to politics.
“Use the phone that you’re using right now to search up what’s happening in China,” Aziz suddenly said trying to open the eyes of her viewers to what is happening to the Muslims in China. “They’re getting concentration camps, throwing innocent Muslims in there, separating their families from each other, kidnapping them, murdering them, raping them,” she added using the platform to criticize and denounce the mass internment of Muslim groups believed to be detained in Xinjiang region in China.
“This is another holocaust, yet no one is talking about it,” the Afghan-American TikToker added before asking her followers to spread awareness on such matter.
Her unexpected yet eye-opening short video went viral. However, a few hours after, the Beijing-based social media platform locked Aziz out from her account, making people suspect that such action is TikTok’s action against her. And while the social media platform is not authorized in China, it is still owned by a Chinese company and has faced scrutiny over fears it censors videos considered offensive to the government of China.
A day after the incident, however, TikTok made it clear why it suspended Aziz from her account. According to the firm, the eyelash curling video was removed not because of her criticism towards China rather due to “human moderation error.” According to Eric Han, the head of the company’s US trust and safety team, the social media platform “does not moderate content due to political sensitivities.” TikTok added that the reason for Aziz’s suspension was for another video – one with a meme about Osama Bin Laden, where he was featured in a satirical way for less than one second, which violated the firm’s policies against images that are related to terrorist figures.