TikTok restores pro-life group's account, blames 'human error' for ban

TikTok | Unsplash/Kon Karampelas

Chinese-owned social media platform TikTok has reinstated the account of Live Action, which has the largest social media presence of any nonprofit pro-life organization, hours after banning it for “violating” the app’s community guidelines. It was removed due to a “human error,” the app now says.

“We received an email from TikTok … apologizing for what TikTok is calling ‘human error.’ They admitted that our account ‘is not in violation of any of our Community Guidelines,’” Lila Rose, the founder of the leading digital pro-life organization, said in a statement, urging TikTok to “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.”

The platform, on which short music videos are shared and has over 800 million active users, blamed it on a “moderator.” The pro-life group’s account was banned late last week after it posted a 15-second educational video featuring baby faces, “highlighting lives saved by our content and raising awareness of the importance of speaking out on abortion,” Rose said.

“TikTok is a platform for creative expression that welcomes diversity of users and viewpoints,” TheWrap quoted a TikTok spokesperson as saying. “Following a review, we have determined that there we 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.”

After her group was censored, Rose said, “Immediately after being notified of the violation, we appealed the removal. And at 3PM EST (Thursday) Live Action was completely BANNED from the platform. TikTok stated ‘this account was banned due to multiple Community Guidelines violations.’”

In the educational video, Live Action shared “the beautiful personal stories that some of our followers have shared with us about choosing life for their babies.”

Rose stressed that her group contacted TikTok “asking for an answer and resolution and only after we escalated the problem, did they finally reinstate the account.” She added, “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 report pro-life viewpoint discrimination.”

Live Action created an account on the platform last summer and managed to gain more than 21,000 followers.

However, this is not the first time the pro-life group, a nonprofit with over 4 million followers on social media, has faced censorship. Last year, Live Action experienced similar censorship from Facebook, Pinterest and YouTube.

Late last year, the U.S. government launched a national security review of TikTok owner Beijing ByteDance’s $1 billion acquisition of U.S. social media app, according to CNBC.

U.S. lawmakers suspect that the Chinese company might be censoring politically sensitive content, and have therefore called for a national security probe into TikTok. Questions about how the platform stores personal data of its users have also been raised.

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