The channel then created a video outlining why they feel like the ban was beneficial to them, discussing the various ways in which TikTok’s algorithm might be harmful to the content creation community and the industry as a whole. With all of that having been said and now out of the way, it is important to note that this ban sheds some light on the tight grip that TikTok holds over its own content. It is not uncommon to see videos that go against the narrative of the Chinese Communist Party or China in general getting taken down.
For example, videos that exposed the true nature of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine were buried by the algorithm because of the fact that this is the sort of thing that could potentially end up keeping the narrative that Russia was in the right alive and well. Now, in the case of OnePath Network, the reasoning behind the ban might be even more directly linked to China’s political influence and its policy decisions concerning certain members of this population.
Since OnePath Network is a Muslim oriented media channel, they obviously wanted to discuss Muslim centric issues. One of the biggest issues affecting the Muslim community is that of the treatment of the Uyghur minority in the Chinese mainland.
The Chinese government has long held the position that they are not trying to disenfranchise or harm the Muslim Uyghur community, but numerous international organizations have suggested otherwise. Indeed, independent studies that have analyzed the treatment of Uyghur Chinese people have labelled this treatment a genocide.
OnePath network made a video earlier in the year which focused entirely on the genocide of Uyghurs. This video received millions of views when it was uploaded on other platforms like Instagram and YouTube, but when it went up on TikTok it was immediately removed with the reason being supposed hate speech. It is quite unusual that one social media platform found hate speech in a video that performed so well on other platforms, and this suggests that TikTok is taking censorship to the next level.
While TikTok’s growth has been quite staggering, its status as a social media platform of choice will not be concrete until and unless it stops its censorship. The problem is that TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, is notorious for collaborating with the Chinese government. That might be the only way they can continue to do business because the Chinese government is known for taking strong action against entrepreneurs who do not toe their line, with Jack Ma being a pertinent example of that.
The fact that TikTok removed a video about Uyghurs that OnePath Network posted and later banned their account cannot be a coincidence. It highlights a sinister aspect of the fastest growing social media platform in the world, and ByteDance’s supervisory board from the Chinese government would have to go.
If that doesn’t happen, TikTok’s chances at expanding at a global rate will be quite minimal. People do not want social media platforms that censor their speech, let alone censor important videos that are talking about a major human rights issue. ByteDance, and by extension TikTok, needs to become independent of the Chinese government, and it might put its future growth in to question if that doesn’t happen, especially considering the numerous other controversies surrounding the platform as of late.
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