TikTok removed the hashtag #lettertoamerica from its search function after videos discussing Osama bin Laden’s 2002 “Letter to America” went viral on the platform. Users shared a link to The Guardian’s transcript of bin Laden’s letter, addressing Americans about the reasons for opposing the U.S. The virality of the letter led to criticism of TikTok, with concerns about its influence and potential biases. The platform has faced scrutiny over national security issues, and critics allege it promotes anti-Israel content. TikTok blocked the hashtag but videos on the topic can still be found. Bin Laden’s letter condemns U.S. actions in the Middle East and supports terrorism. A post on X from journalist Yashir Ali highlighting the videos received 25.6 million views bringing more attention to TikTok’s actions. TikTok stated that the number of videos about the letter was small but interest grew after they were posted to X.
Over the past 24 hours, thousands of TikToks (at least) have been posted where people share how they just read Bin Laden’s infamous “Letter to America,” in which he explained why he attacked the United States.
The TikToks are from people of all ages, races, ethnicities, and… pic.twitter.com/EwjiGtFEE3
— Yashar Ali 🐘 (@yashar) November 16, 2023