TikTok social media app removes Islamic State propaganda video

BEIJING: The social media app TikTok has recorded accounts posting propaganda videos of the Islamic State group, a company official said on Tuesday in the latest scandal to hit the popular platform.

TikTok, owned by Chinese company ByteDance, claimed about 500 million users worldwide last year, making it one of the most popular social applications.

An employee at TikTok told AFP that about 10 accounts were removed for posting the videos.

"Only one of those videos even had views that reached double digits before they were captured," said the official, who declined to be named.

The videos featured the corpses being violated through the streets and Islamic State militants with guns, according to the Wall Street Journal, which first reported the story on Monday.

The magazine said the posts were from about a dozen accounts, identified by social media company Storyful.

"The content promoting terrorist organizations has absolutely no place in TikTok," the company said in a statement sent to AFP by email.

"We permanently ban all these accounts and related devices as soon as they are detected, and we continue to develop stronger controls to detect suspicious activity proactively," he said.

The Islamic State's so-called "caliphate" in Iraq and Syria fell in March, but the group remains active in several countries in the Middle East, Africa and Asia, while inspiring jihad through an online presence.

The TikTok platform, which allows users to create and share 15-second videos, is particularly popular with teens.

"Unlike other platforms that focus on users' friends or communities, TikTok is based on an endless stream of new content," said Darren Davidson, Editor of Storyful.

"ISIS posts violate TikTok's policies, but the sheer volume of content makes it difficult for TikTok to police its platform and eliminate these videos," he said.

The application has been marred by controversy in recent months.

In April, TikTok was banned by an Indian court for allegedly promoting child pornography.

The application is banned in neighboring Bangladesh and was hit with a huge fine in the United States for illegally collecting information from children.

The company has disputed the claims, saying they comply with local privacy laws.

ByteDance has a version of TikTok in China called Douyin.