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Saudi Arabia detains Egyptian TikToker for “immoral” video

Saudi Arabia detains Egyptian TikToker for “immoral” video

A well-known Egyptian social media influencer has been detained in Saudi Arabia on suspicion of publishing pornographic material. Tala Safwan, who has 800,000 subscribers on YouTube and five million on TikTok, attracted criticism online after allegations that a recent video had lesbian overtones. However, Ms. Safwan claimed that was not what she had intended. However, the police in the firmly conservative kingdom warned that the film would undermine public morality. The young vlogger targets youngsters with her bubbly, lively style, short, dark hair, and expressive face. She discusses TV shows and questions submitted by her followers in her videos, mostly focusing on relationships and embarrassing situations. Her videos have catchy, tabloid-like headlines. She organizes challenges and plays pranks, just like many other well-known content producers throughout the globe. 

However, a recent video of hers elicited a totally different response. She is seen in the video conversing with a Saudi woman acquaintance whom she invites over to her residence. Some people have taken her subsequent comments to be sexually provocative. That sparked a significant campaign against her, with the hashtag “Tala offends society” trending on Twitter. In response, she claimed she had been misunderstood and refuted any lesbian overtones in her remarks—a topic that is still banned in Saudi Arabia. She claimed that to stir up controversy, the portion from the whole video she took had been pulled out of context. 

In Riyadh, the police said they had detained a resident “who appeared in a broadcast talking to another woman with sexual content and suggestiveness that could have a bad impact on public morality” as the social media backlash grew. Despite blurring Tala Safwan’s and her friend’s faces in a segment of the video, the police did not give Tala Safwan’s name. Only a few days prior, the Saudi media watchdog had urged YouTube to remove any commercials that it deemed to be against the Muslim values and principles of the nation. If nothing was done, the regulator threatened legal action. The announcement came in response to Saudi parents’ complaints that YouTube advertisements were subjecting their kids to improper material.

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