Backlash over ‘depraved’ video
Google has deleted millions of reviews of the popular social media app TikTok from its Play store app marketplace after a tasteless clip shared on the platform led to a flood of unfavourable reviews.
The app was hit with a barrage of one-star reviews that pushed its rating from 4.5 stars to 1.2 in the space of a few hours.
Google decided some of those reviews had come from people setting up fake accounts and took "corrective action".
It's understood the negative reviews were in response to a video shared on the platform that its creator thought was just a joke, but evidently failed to make his audience laugh.
TikTok influencer Faizal Siddiqui uploaded a clip purporting to show him throwing acid in a woman's face after she decided to leave him.
The video was set-up, the liquid thrown only water and the gruesome scars that appear on the woman's face just makeup, but the video triggered a huge backlash for seemingly promoting similar attacks.
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According to the BBC, TikTok took down the video, suspended the account and is now working with law enforcement.
"As per the policy, we do not allow content that risks the safety of others, promotes physical harm, or glorifies violence against women," a TikTok spokesperson told the broadcaster.
"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."
Mr Siddiqui said he didn't mean it and issued an apology.
"My intention was never to hurt anyone in any capacity. As a social media influencer, I realise my responsibility and apologise to anyone who was offended by the video," he wrote on a since deleted Instagram post.
Chemical assaults or "acid attacks" are a typically gendered form of violence, though it's hard to determine their true scope and it's believed many attacks go unreported.
A 2011 report from Cornell Law School found around 72 per cent of acid attacks in India reported in the news between January 2002 and October 2010 included at least one woman victim.
It has been a specific criminal offence in India since 2013, when the country's Supreme Court ruled people should have to provide their ID, name and address when purchasing commonly used chemicals after four sisters had acid thrown on them.
The minimum sentence for someone found guilty of an acid attack that causes permanent or partial damage to another person is 10 years but it can extend to a life sentence.
The attacker is also supposed to pay for the victim's medical treatment.
Although India has specific laws to target acid attacks, reports suggest the frequency of the attacks has been steadily growing in the past decade.
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This is completely disgusting.— Licypriya Kangujam (@LicypriyaK) May 18, 2020
Delete the account of #FaizalSiddiqui that instigate committing violence against women. He is promoting Acid Attacks to young girls and women. This is unacceptable. #ArrestFaizalSiddiqui #BanFaizalSiddiqui pic.twitter.com/CcqxlfUfpX
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TikTok's Indian Twitter account doesn't appear to have directly commented on the controversy since it started brewing about a week ago, instead sharing two vague posts about being a "responsible TikToker", retweeting articles from news organisations saying the app shouldn't be blamed for exposing India's cultural problems, and sharing three different posts about Australian cricketer David Warner.
Originally published as Backlash over 'depraved' video
What on earth is wrong with people? This is depraved. How can you allow this kind of content on your platform @TikTok_IN This man needs to be taken to task. As for the woman in the video-do you realise what immense harm you are causing by participating in this? https://t.co/I5OLTEZGVe— Pooja Bhatt (@PoojaB1972) May 18, 2020