TikTok to ban viral videos promoting bin Laden's 'Letter to America'

Osama bin Laden. (Photo/AP Archive)

TikTok will prohibit content that promotes Osama bin Laden's 2002 letter detailing the former al Qaeda leader's explanation for attacking America, the short-form video app said.

The letter criticised US support for Israel and accused Americans of financing the "oppression" of Palestinians.

"Content promoting this letter clearly violates our rules on supporting any form of terrorism," TikTok said in a statement on Thursday, adding that reports that it was "trending" on the platform were inaccurate.

A search for "Letter to America" on TikTok surfaced no results on Thursday, with a notice that said the phrase may be associated with "content that violates our guidelines."

TikTok said previously its recommendation algorithm does not push certain content to users, and that the company has removed hundreds of thousands of videos since October 7 for violating policies against misinformation and promotion of violence.

Reactions to bin Laden’s letter

Bin Laden’s 'Letter to America' has marked yet another trend on TikTok to go viral in the US since the start of Israel’s brutal war on besieged Gaza.

Some users who read the letter said it had changed the way they view the US, while others criticised the censorship of the letter because it made people "question things".

The trend prompted The Guardian to remove the full text of the letter from its website, which it had published in 2002.

The news outlet said on its website that the letter was being shared on social media without full context and that it would instead direct readers to the news article that originally reported on the letter.

Some US lawmakers have called for a ban on the Chinese-owned app and had renewed their criticisms before Thursday's announcement.

Democratic Representative Josh Gottheimer said on Wednesday on X, formerly Twitter, that TikTok was "pushing pro-terrorist propaganda to influence Americans."


Source: TRT