This was exactly the kind of situation where a social media app could come in handy for an activist.
In late July, a TikTok user and Indigenous educator who passed by the handle @quiiroi was in far north Minnesota, protesting the Line 3 pipeline, a massive project to replace an aging pipeline in the area with a new one that passes near or through several native nations and pristine wilderness, as well as the Mississippi River crossing.
Amid a combined prayer and protest ceremony, a group of riot police crushed the protest, brutalizing protesters and sending more than 20 people to jail.
“About halfway through the ceremony, I went to sit down and take a break, I hear screams [and] I come running with my camera, I immediately have [turned] my live stream on. The police were there queuing, âthey said. said to Daily point. âThey showed up with tear gas, rubber bullets and guns. We are in camping gear. I was wearing this camisole and flip flops. And a bandana to protect me from the sun. Why are [the police] in riot gear? “
Shortly after posting a feed from the encounter, their account was banned for more than a week without explanation, the latest in a series of allegations from marginalized communities that hugely popular social media apps owned by Chinese censor certain types of perspectives.
“It’s a physical and spiritual battle,” added Quiiroi, whose apolitical videos sometimes attract hundreds of thousands of views. âWe need help. I’m lucky to have a platform. I was using it for good, then TikTok won.
The independentI contacted TikTok for comment.
Indigenous activists challenging the new pipeline project, which critics say will exacerbate society’s reliance on climate-damaging fossil fuels, aren’t the only ones saying they’ve been unfairly thrown out. ‘difference.
TikTok users who post on how to spot and stop Nazi and right-wing imagery have reported that trolls were able to have their videos removed, and Black TikTokers said they suffered severe bans or loss of view. when publication on Black Lives Matter.
Point of sale reports like The Guardian and Interception revealed leaked app moderation guidelines, except for videos on controversial topics in China like Tiananmen Square and Tibetan independence, and Uyghurs are said to have had their content removed after posting articles on the systematic discrimination and imprisonment of the minority group in China. (TikTok said its Chinese censorship rules do not apply to international versions of the app, and previously said it did not “unequivocally” have “shadow bans” and did not distinguish certain groups.)
Last spring, Interception reported on the moderation instructions which went so far as to remove the publications of people deemed “too ugly, poor or disabled” to deserve high visibility on the application. (The company said the guidelines were either outdated or not being implemented.)
Ethics and security concerns around the app prompted lawmakers like Senate Majority Leader Chuck schumer to call on federal agencies to ban their employees from using TikTok, which the Transportation Security Agency did last year.