Chinese-owned social media platform TikTok said it had reinstated the account of pro-life organization Live Action, after Live Action announced Friday that it had been permanently banned, without explanation, “due to multiple Community Guidelines violations.”
“TikTok is a platform for creative expression that welcomes diversity of users and viewpoints,” a company spokesperson 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.”
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
Live Action posted the video Thursday to its account — with 21,000 followers, it’s the largest pro-life following on TikTok — that showed a woman choosing between a pro-life and pro-choice “pill,” in reference to a popular theme from The Matrix, followed by images of babies and pro-life text.
In a press release, Live Action explained the video as “educational” and said its purpose was “highlighting lives saved by our content and raising awareness of the importance of speaking out on abortion.”
The video was then removed by TikTok, which said it had “violated community guidelines.” After Live Action appealed, the platform subsequently banned the entire channel for multiple violations.
TikTok, which is owned by Chinese technology firm Bytedance, does not have any explicit references to abortion in its guidelines.
In November, TikTok CEO Alex Zhu explained that while he saw the platform as “not so much for political discussion,” he added that “for political content that still aligns with this creative and joyful experience, I don’t see why we should control it.”
Alison Howard Centofante, Live Action’s Director of External Affairs, called for TikTok to reinstate the channel, saying the decision was “blatant viewpoint discrimination and an egregious attempt to silence pro-life voices.”
“Live Action’s videos shared baby photos and videos and highlighted the illogic of the pro-abortion movement,” Centofante said in a statement. “At the same time, 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. TikTok should reinstate our account in full and allow all voices on the platform.”
Josh Hawley, a prominent critic of TikTok, tweeted displeasure at the news.
“How long before Big Tech shuts all pro-life and conservative voices out of social media?” Hawley questioned.
The Missouri Republican has previously advocated on Live Action’s behalf, after it was content was censored by Facebook last year.
Hawley said in September that Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg told him during a meeting that there “clearly was bias” in Facebook’s decision.
Editor’s Note: This article has been updated to reflect a statement from TikTok that Live Action’s account has been reinstated.