Chinese social media firm Tiktok has apologised to a US teenager who was blocked from the platform after posting a video criticising the country’s repression of Uighur Muslims.
Feroza Aziz was suspended from the app earlier this week after criticising the Chinese authorities in a video disguised as a make-up tutorial.
Tiktok today reinstated Aziz’s account and apologised for the move, which it blamed on a “human moderation error”.
The 17-year-old said the Chinese-owned platform had blocked her from posting videos for a month, describing it as “proof that China is using Tiktok to not let the truth be set free”.
In a statement issued last night, Tiktok said that Aziz’s previous account had been banned after she breached its rules terrorist imagery by posting a video that included an image of Osama bin Laden.
The Uighur video was posted to a second account, but Tiktok said that a “scheduled platform-wide enforcement” locked her out of both accounts due to the bin Laden image.
It added that the viral video was taken down due to a “human moderation error”, but was reuploaded 50 minutes later.
In a tweet today, Aziz welcomed the lifting of the ban, but said she did not believe that the clip was taken down due to an “unrelated satirical video”.
Earlier this month the US government opened a probe into Tiktok parent company Bytedance amid concerns about national security.
The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States is investigating Bytedance’s $1bn (£773m) takeover of social media app Musical.ly in 2017, citing concerns that it may be censoring politically sensitive content and raising questions about how it stores personal data.
Tiktok has denied that it removes content based on order from the Chinese government, and said its user data is stored in the US.