TikTok, the popular social video site, banned pro-life organization Live Action from its platform Thursday, citing a violation of “community guidelines,” according to Live Action Founder Lila Rose.
About an hour after Live Action posted a video to the app, TikTok deleted it. Live Action appealed the removal immediately and within a half-hour it was completely banned from the site. TikTok said the “account was banned due to multiple Community Guidelines violations,” but it remains unclear which guidelines were violated. In its community guidelines, TikTok claims to be “an inclusive platform built upon the foundation of creative expression. We encourage users to celebrate what makes them unique, while finding a community that does the same.”
The Live Action video mimics a popular TikTok trend and includes no objectionable or graphic content, depicting only babies and positive Instagram comments. TikTok still allows pro-abortion content on the site, however, such as this grisly video. Live Action sent a letter to the social media platform, seeking both a rationale for the ban and reinstatement, but TikTok did not respond.
Live Action joined TikTok, which has more than 800,000 active users, in August 2019 to reach the young demographic dominating the app’s user base and had since gained more than 21,000 followers, making it the largest pro-life account on the platform. The pro-life organization’s decision to join came after it faced censorship on other online platforms, including Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and YouTube.
BREAKING: TikTok has just permanently BANNED Live Action's account from the platform.
They state we are banned "due to multiple community guidelines violations"
With no cause & no explanation.
This is a direct attack on the pro-life movement & the right to free speech. pic.twitter.com/pT1WMnc2lR
— Live Action (@LiveAction) January 31, 2020
“This is blatant viewpoint discrimination and an egregious attempt to silence pro-life voices,” Live Action said in a press release. “TikTok should reinstate our account in full and allow all voices on the platform.”
Chinese-owned TikTok has come under scrutiny in recent months for its censorship of ideas sensitive to the Communist Party of China. According to leaked documents obtained by The Guardian, TikTok “instructs its moderators to censor videos that mention Tiananmen Square, Tibetan independence, or the banned religious group Falun Gong.” The Guardian’s investigation came on the heels of a different report by the Washington Post, revealing a startling lack of content related to the unrest in Hong Kong.
“Researchers have grown worried that the app could also prove to be one of China’s most effective weapons in the global information war, bringing Chinese-style censorship to mainstream U.S. audiences and shaping how they understand real-world events,” said the Washington Post’s Drew Harwell and Tony Romm. “Compounding researchers’ concerns are TikTok’s limited public comments about the content it removes and its purported independence from censors in Beijing.”
This recent ban of Live Action, however, shows TikTok’s censorship reaches beyond ideas that undermine the Beijing hive mind, to the point of threatening mainstream pro-life content online.
— Josh Hawley (@HawleyMO) January 31, 2020
It is absolutely disgusting that @tiktok_us would rather remove pro-life content from @LiveAction than combat the increasing number of sexual predators who use their platform to engage & exploit minors.
— Jody Hice (@JodyHice) January 31, 2020
TikTok did not respond to The Federalist’s request for comment.