Friday, January 27, 2023

Pakistani TikToker faces backlash over forest fire video

Humaira Asghar, a TikTok star with millions of followers is facing backlash after posting a TikTok video with forest on fire in the background.

The TikTok girl posted a clip of herself walking playfully in front of a burning hillside with the caption: “Fire erupts wherever I am.”

The incident made the headlines at a time when the country is facing a devastating heatwave. Temperatures in some cities have peaked at 51 degrees centigrade in recent days, leaving the poor and vulnerable struggling to beat the heat, amid severe load shedding and water crisis.

The TikTok girl, while responding to the criticism, said that she did not start the fire, adding that there was “no harm in making videos”. The clip has since been taken down.

Rina Saeed Khan Satti, an environmental activist and chairperson of the Islamabad Wildlife Management Board, said that instead of glamorizing the wildfire, Asghar should have been holding a bucket of water to extinguish the fire.

This is not the first time that a Pakistani has tried to shoot after setting the forest on fire. Earlier this month, police arrested a man in Abbottabad for intentionally starting a forest fire as a background for a social media video.

“The message these videos is sending is too risky and it needs to be contained,” Satti said.

TikTok’s reaction

Clarifying its position on the incident, TikTok said on Tuesday it did not promote or allow “dangerous or illegal behavior”.

“Any content that promotes dangerous or illegal behavior would be a violation of our Community Guidelines and is not allowed on our platform,” TikTok said in a statement. “We work to either remove, limit or label content that depicts dangerous or illegal acts.”

The social media platform, however, did not elaborate what specific actions the platform had taken against Humaira Asghar.

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