Faizal Siddiqui’s “Acid Attack” Video is Only the Tip of the Iceberg. TikTok is Full of Misogynistic Content

Pop Culture

Faizal Siddiqui’s “Acid Attack” Video is Only the Tip of the Iceberg. TikTok is Full of Misogynistic Content

Illustration: Reynold Mascarenhas

Before this morning, Faizal Siddiqui was well known on the social media platform TikTok, while remaining under the mainstream’s radar. However, after one of his videos went viral, his name was trending on Twitter and appearing on news channels, but it wasn’t the kind of fame he was hoping for when he signed up to the social media platform. The viral video in question had Siddiqui in the role of a jilted lover who simulates an acid attack on the girl who left him.

The clip of the video doing the rounds has all the hallmarks of an Indian TikTok influencer’s content, namely lip-synched dialogues and garish aesthetics. However, the portrayal of an acid attack is far more offensive. Siddiqui’s video attracted the attention of the National Commission of Women, who wrote to TikTok to have it taken down.

For its part, TikTok complied with the NCW’s request, and the video was taken down. However, the NCW also requested that Maharashtra’s DGP look into the matter and that strict action be taken against Siddiqui for his irresponsible content. For Siddiqui, the entire fiasco began when the spokesperson for BJP Delhi, Tajinder Bagga, brought the clip to the attention of Rekha Sharma, the chairperson of NCW.

Once the video went viral and outrage started to build, it was only a matter of time before the repercussions for Siddiqui turned serious. Indeed, today an FIR against Siddiqui was filed in Mumbai, giving police grounds to detain the influencer.

While the uproar over Siddiqui’s video is fresh, it’s also worth noting how TikTok has often come under scrutiny for objectionable videos being posted on the platform. Though it is only a simulation of actual acts, rampant misogyny pervades the videos uploaded to TikTok, with videos of men hitting women, or acting in otherwise oppressive ways. Many of these videos are even highlighted on the official account of TikTok India.

Perhaps the only silver lining in Siddiqui’s offensive video is that the fresh scrutiny that is sure to follow might help clean up TikTok as a platform.