TikTok, the popular social video platform, has reinstated Live Action’s account after banning the pro-life organization for allegedly violating TikTok’s community guidelines.
“TikTok is a platform for creative expression that welcomes diversity of users and viewpoints,” a TikTok representative told The Federalist. “Following a review, we have determined that there were no violations of our Community Guidelines, and the issue was the result of a human error by a moderator. We apologize for the mistake and have reactivated the account.”
At the time of TikTok’s statement to The Federalist, it still had not communicated with Live Action, nor offered an explanation for the ban, according to Live Action founder Lila Rose.
UPDATE: Media is reporting that TikTok has told them they have now reinstated our account & it was a “human error.”
Live Action has received ZERO communication from TikTok since being banned. It appears they have allowed our account to go back up w/ no explanation.
— Lila Rose (@LilaGraceRose) January 31, 2020
On Thursday, about an hour after Live Action had posted a pro-life video, featuring babies and positive Instagram comments, TikTok deleted it. Live Action immediately appealed the removal and within a half-hour was completely banned from the site. TikTok said the “account was banned due to multiple Community Guidelines violations,” but it offered no explanation as to which guidelines the organization had flouted.
The Live Action video mimics a popular TikTok trend and featured only babies and positive Instagram comments, no objectionable or graphic content. TikTok allows pro-abortion content on its platform, such as this gruesome video.
After banning Live Action, TikTok received online backlash from pro-lifers, including congressmen, conservative media, and Rose.
— Josh Hawley (@HawleyMO) January 31, 2020
BREAKING: TikTok permanently bans @LiveAction for "multiple community guidelines violations" after removing one of the org's videos on abortion.
Live Action was "the largest pro-life voice on the platform,” according to founder & president Lila Rose. https://t.co/BOJKTF7l9N
— Mary Margaret Olohan (@MaryMargOlohan) January 31, 2020
TikTok has just BANNED & permanently removed Live Action from the platform
My team grew the largest pro-life voice on the platform
We had 21,000 followers & over a million video views
This is another egregious attack on the pro-life movement by pro-abortion Big Tech
— Lila Rose (@LilaGraceRose) 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.”
After TikTok’s reinstatement of Live Action’s account and its eventual communication with the pro-life group, Rose told the Federalist in an official statement:
TikTok has rightfully reinstated Live Action’s account. We received an email from TikTok at 11:29 AM PT/2:29 pm ET apologizing for what TikTok is calling “human error.” They admitted that our account “is not in violation of any of our Community Guidelines.” Tiktok must improve their training and oversight to ensure that such dramatic “human errors” like this aren’t made in the future for us or any other pro-life organization.
“We contacted TikTok yesterday asking for an answer and resolution and only after we escalated the problem, did they finally reinstate the account,” Rose continued. “Not every pro-life American has the reach that Live Action has to sound the alarm on censorship and viewpoint discrimination. What we saw today is the power of social media, the pro-life movement, and news outlets in doing their job to call out pro-life viewpoint discrimination. Now, go follow us on TikTok.”
Live Action joined TikTok, which has more than 800,000 active users, in August 2019 and has since gained more than 21,000 followers, making it the largest pro-life account on the site. The pro-life group join after facing censorship from other online platforms, including Twitter, YouTube, and Pinterest, which categorized Live Action as pornographic content.
TikTok’s reversal of the Live Action ban does not exonerate the Chinese-owned company from censorship scrutiny. The video platform has been under fire for silencing certain viewpoints, specifically those critical of Beijing and the Communist Party of China. According to reports from the Washington Post, TikTok searches for “Hong Kong” revealed a startling lack of content regarding the political unrest in the region. 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.”
This article has been updated to include new communication between TikTok and Live Action, and Lila Rose’s official statement.