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TikTok apologizes after deleting post on China's Uighur Muslims

In this image, a thumb hovers over the TikTok logo displayed on a smartphone screen.
A TikTok logo on a mobile device. Thomas Trutschel/Photothek via Getty Images

TikTok apologized on Wednesday for temporarily deleting a viral TikTok post that compared China's mass detention of Uighur Muslims to the Holocaust, citing a "human moderation error."

Why it matters: TikTok is trying to distance itself from its Chinese ownership amid recent reports that moderators have been told to censor videos that reference topics deemed off-limits by the Chinese Communist Party, and U.S. lawmakers' interest in probing the app for censorship.

Background: TikTok previously disputed that it blocked 17-year-old Feroza Aziz's viral post on Chinese Uighurs, after banning Aziz's phone on Nov. 25 over a different post that featured a picture of Osama bin Laden.

  • TikTok says that ban, enacted over a violation of sharing terrorist imagery, would not have affected videos already posted to Aziz's account.
  • Aziz's post on Chinese Uighurs was offline for 50 minutes, according to TikTok.

What's next: TikTok says it will review its moderation policies and is on track to release a transparency report and updated Community Guidelines within the next two months.

Go deeper: TikTok looks to downplay its China ties