The pro-life group Live Action was temporarily put into the social media version of time out on Thursday, only to be reinstated the next day.
A statement from Live Action Director of External Affairs, Alison Howard Centofante, on Live Action’s website outlined what took place.
“At 1:26 p.m. EST on January 30th, 2020 Live Action posted an educational video to our TikTok highlighting lives saved by our content & raising awareness of the importance of speaking out on abortion,” the timeline accompanying the statement said.
The video showed a woman choosing between two candies. One was labeled “Be pro-abortion” and the other “Be pro-life and help save babies.” After the woman chose the pro-life candy, the video showed pictures of babies and included comments from women who were glad they gave birth.
“At 2:30 p.m. EST we were notified our video ‘violated community guidelines’ and it was deleted. Immediately after being notified of the violation, we appealed the removal,” the group said in its statement.
Instead, things got worse.
“And at 3 p.m. EST Live Action was completely BANNED from the platform. TikTok stated ‘this account was banned due to multiple Community Guidelines violations.'”
While it was still banned, Centofante noted that “TikTok allows pro-abortion accounts and videos to remain on the platform.”
“This is blatant viewpoint discrimination and an egregious attempt to silence pro-life voices,” she added.
A day later, Live Action was allowed back on TikTok.
“After being banned yesterday for ‘violating multiple community guidelines,’ we reached out & received no response. After publicizing this morning & after media inquiries, TikTok backtracks, claims ‘human error.’ We are back up!” Live Action founder Lila Rose tweeted.
UPDATE #2: Just received this email from TikTok. After being banned yesterday for “violating multiple community guidelines,” we reached out & received no response. After publicizing this morning & after media inquiries, TikTok backtracks, claims “human error.” We are back up! pic.twitter.com/X5DJfrh6C3
— Lila Rose (@LilaGraceRose) January 31, 2020
She also tweeted a message from TikTok which blamed the fact that the account was taken down on “human error.”
“TikTok is a platform for creative expression that welcomes diversity of users and viewpoints,” TikTok said in a statement to National Review. “Following a review, we have determined that there were 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.”
Republican Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri sounded the alarm about TikTok’s actions.
How long before Big Tech shuts all pro-life and conservative voices out of social media?
— Josh Hawley (@HawleyMO) January 31, 2020
Human error my eye. They did it on purpose hoping you wouldn’t fight back.
— K Lee (@KAnnette52) January 31, 2020
Live Action said TikTok was a part of its efforts to reach young adults.
“Live Action joined TikTok in 2019 as part of our ongoing efforts to reach Gen Z and Millennials with the truth about abortion and to continue to solidify our role as digital leaders in the nonprofit space.
“Tiktok has a larger active user base than Twitter, Pinterest, Reddit, and Snapchat. Its user base is nearly as big as Instagram. Our innovative, educational videos were hugely popular and grew our following to over 21k followers, quickly making Live Action the largest pro-life voice on the platform,” Centofante said.
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