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Normalizing the heinous: The TikTok menace’s new name is Faizal Siddiqi

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I see the big picture. I have deep interest in history, philosophy, traditions and developments in India.

The TikTok menace in India is spreading. A recent video of TikTok ‘celebrity’ Faizal Siddiqi has gone viral. In the video he is seen glorifying and glamorizing the acid attack on women. Since then social media has been abuzz with comments. National Commission of Women Chairperson Rekha Sharma also took note of it and promised action.

Tiktok menace
From the video promoting acid attack.

This is not the first time TikTok is in news for wrong reasons. In last few days, it has been accused of promoting rape, pedophilia, animal cruelty, love jihad and Islamism. During the month of March, there was a flood of videos by Muslims on TikTok with the punchline “Corona ka ilaaz kya? 5 vakt namaz”(What is the cure of Corona? 5 times Namaza a day). That when there was a lockdown in effect. So, it served a purpose in amplifying the perverse. Ironically many of these 5 time Namazis were found COVID-19 positive in succeeding days. The five time Namaz apparantly had no effect.

Similarly, there are scores of videos glorifying rape of Hindu women by Muslims. Many videos show how it is cool to be a Muslim and glorify dramatic Hindu to Muslim conversion of girls. Many videos have been reported for animal cruelty. Some time ago, there was a joint video by Muslim tiktokers that threatened Hindus of terrorism because a Gorakshaks killed Akhlaq. There are videos that promote nudity and also promote sexualisation of very young children.

The social media reaction to TikTok menace has been huge. People of all shades (except the usual suspects) have condemned the acid attack video. There have been regular demands to ban the app in India on Twitter trends. Many have rated TikTok a one star on play store. As a result, its rating has dropped sharply. Still, Worryingly, a youtube video made by noted Youtuber CarryMinati about TikTok was taken down by YouTube, after it created history within hours by going super-viral.

Notably, there are multiple other reasons to ban TikTok apart from its hateful, vulgar content. The parent company of TikTok, ByteDance is no stranger to controversies. The Chinese company has close ties with ruling Communist Party of China. It has helped the Chinese govt in its repression in Xinxiang. It also collects and sends user data of Indians to China, which raises obvious privacy and national security concerns. The company was actually find $5.7 million in 2019 in US for invading privacy of under-13 children.

Recently there were screenshots of an email sent by TikTok to its Indian employees, which instructed them to remove any content related to Tibet, Dalai Lama or criticism of China. This is serious for many reasons. One, is it not invasion of cyber sovereignty of India and curtailment of freedom of speech of Indian citizens? Second, it is implied they have a technology to parse and sensor vast amounts of data. This is like extending the great Chinese firewall into India. How prepared are we for that? Thirdly, no such guideline was issued for hateful, misogynistic, jihadi content. Evidently, they do not wish good for India.

Unfortunately, Indian law enforcement and political leadership have been found severely lacking in case of Tiktok menace. They have shown no interest in pursuing this as of now. China does not allow even google, twitter, facebook and youtube because it wants to control narrative at home. By exporting such apps, it can now control the narrative in India too. The acid attack glorifying TikToker has more than 13 million followers! Indians are still not ready or capable(?) to develop a single world class social media company. That should scare us no end.

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I see the big picture. I have deep interest in history, philosophy, traditions and developments in India.

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