TikTok removes animated video glorifying Palestinian terror attacks

Social media site popular with kids says it banned account that posted clip, works to remove ‘content that promotes terrorism, crime, or other behaviors that could cause harm’

A screenshot from an animated recreation of a Palestinian stabbing attack posted on the popular social media app TikTok. (Screenshot)
A screenshot from an animated recreation of a Palestinian stabbing attack posted on the popular social media app TikTok. (Screenshot)

TikTok, the video-sharing social networking app popular with children, said Friday it had removed an animated video portraying several real-life Palestinian terror attacks against Israelis and banned the account.

“Our Community Guidelines make it clear that we do not allow content that promotes terrorism, crime, or other behaviors that could cause harm,” TikTok said in a statement sent to The Times of Israel. “We take our commitment to keeping TikTok safe incredibly seriously.”

The move comes after the Palestinian Media Watch NGO said Wednesday it had identified the video, which appeared to glorify the murder of Jews, that highlighted four separate attacks in CGI (computer-generated imagery) vignettes set to heroic music.

The Israeli watchdog which monitors Palestinian media said that it had previously “exposed similar animations urging Palestinians to murder Israelis.”

“After this video was reported by a member of our community, our moderation team reviewed the content, removed it from our platform, and banned an associated account,” TikTok said, urging users “to continue to use our reporting functions to flag any accounts, videos, or comments they are concerned about so we can investigate.”

The video featured recreations of a 2014 car ramming attack in Jerusalem which killed Jidan Assad and Shalom Aharon Badani; a 2015 stabbing attack in the Old City of Jerusalem which killed Rabbi Nehemiah Lavi and Aharon Bennett; a 2016 drive-by shooting in Jerusalem which killed Levana Malichi and IDF Sgt. Yosef Kirma; and a 2015 stabbing near the Damascus Gate in the Old City in which three policemen were wounded.

Israel and the US have long criticized the Palestinian Authority for encouraging a culture of incitement and of glorifying perpetrators of terrorist acts.

During the launch of his Israeli-Palestinian peace initiative late last month, US President Donald Trump said that the Palestinians must end “the incitement of hatred against Israel” as well as “halting the financial compensation to terrorists.”

Israel recently took steps to seize PA funds used to pay salaries to convicted terrorists and the families of slain terrorists.

Last August, the United Nation’s anti-racism committee also criticized Palestinian authorities, calling on the “State of Palestine” to act against “racist hate speech and hate crimes,” including incitement to violence against Israelis and Jews.

The UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) in a report on the Palestinians said it was concerned about “hate speech in certain media outlets, especially those controlled by Hamas, social media, public officials’ statements and school curricula and textbooks, which fuels hatred and may incite violence, particularly hate speech against Israelis, which at times also fuels anti-Semitism.”

Palestinian officials have denied that they engage in incitement, with one senior figure telling The Times of Israel last year that many apparently violent posts on the official Fatah Facebook page were merely “symbolic.”

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