Update on May 19: TikTok has suspended Faizal Siddiqui’s account after his video allegedly promoting acid attacks on women went viral on Twitter yesterday. TikTok said the video violated its guidelines, and the platform is working with law agencies “as appropriate”. The National Commission for Women had asked the platform to delete the video, and also suspend Siddiqui’s account. A TikTok spokesperson shared the following statement with MediaNama:
“Keeping people on TikTok safe is a top priority and we make it clear in our Term of Service and Community Guidelines that clearly outlines what is not acceptable on our platform. As per the policy, we do not allow content that risks safety of others, promotes physical harm or glorifies violence against women. The behaviour in question violates our guidelines and we have taken down content, suspended the account, and are working with law enforcement agencies as appropriate.” — TikTok spokesperson (emphasis ours)
At the moment it isn’t clear if this is a permanent suspension, and we’ve asked TikTok about it. We’ve also reached out to Siddiqui via Instagram for comment.
Earlier on May 18: The National Commission for Women has asked Maharashtra’s DGP to take “immediate action” against TikTok creator Faizal Siddiqui after one of his videos, allegedly “promoting acid attack on girls and women for revenge”, went viral on Twitter. The commission has asked TikTok to block Siddiqui’s profile and give it a detailed action-taken report ‘at an early date’. In the viral video, Siddiqui can be seen throwing contents of a glass on a girl with graphic makeup on her face, supposedly to look like an acid attack victim. However, Siddiqui has contested that that the viral video is only a portion of the original video that he had uploaded to TikTok last month (more on that below). MediaNama could not independently verify Siddiqui’s claims since the video has been taken down from TikTok.
“NCW condemns the video of digital content creator promoting a grievous crime of acid attack to the young followers on the social media platform,” the Commission wrote in the letter to Maharashtra DGP, adding that it is “disturbed by the use of cyberspace to instigate crime against women”. Siddiqui is among the most popular Indian creators on TikTok with over 13 million followers.
At the time of publishing, the video was taken down from Siddiqui’s profile, but his account was still active. The Commission’s chairperson Rekha Sharma said that the video was deleted from TikTok after a call from NCW. We have reached out to Tiktok and Maharashtra’s DGP for comment, and have reached out to Siddiqui via Instagram.
Written to @DGPMaharashtra DGP to take action against #FaizalSiddiqui. Also wrote to @TikTok_IN to block this person from the platform, though they have deleted the video from it after a call from @NCWIndia https://t.co/drBqy9ykji pic.twitter.com/X1CpM8soBt
— Rekha Sharma (@sharmarekha) May 18, 2020
“Social media platforms should prevent people from posting such videos in the first place, and people posting such content should be blocked from the platform”, NCW India chairperson Rekha said in a video posted on twitter.
Creator says part of video chopped off
In an Instagram post, Siddiqui contested that in the viral video on Twitter, the beginning part from his original video has been edited out. He said that in the portion that was removed, he can be seen drinking out of the glass, and also shared what he claims is the complete original video, where he can be seen drinking out of the glass before he throws the contents of the glass on the face of the woman. “Who drinks acid,” he asked in his post.
Siddiqui further claimed that the video went live last month, and speculated that the ongoing “rivalry” between TikTok and YouTube could be the reason behind why people were making a “fuss” about the video now. He also clarified that the woman in the video is a professional makeup artist and her makeup in the video “in no way represents a victim of an acid attack” and is “just her way of projecting her art and profession”.