Margalla Hills fire video: TikTok says 'dangerous, illegal' content violation of guidelines

Published May 18, 2022
TikToker Nosheen Saeed says she did not start the fire. — Photo: screenshot from TikTok
TikToker Nosheen Saeed says she did not start the fire. — Photo: screenshot from TikTok

Video-sharing application TikTok on Wednesday said that any content that promotes "dangerous" or "illegal" behavior was a violation of its community guidelines after a social media star faced backlash for posting a video by a forest fire in Islamabad's Margalla Hills.

Yesterday, Nosheen Saeed, who has more than 11 million followers on TikTok, posted a clip of herself walking playfully in a silver ball gown in front of a burning hillside with the caption: “Fire erupts wherever I am.”

Nosheen's video immediately came under fire on social media as people highlighted that a devastating heatwave was underway in Pakistan causing widespread misery. One comment under her video on said her actions were “sheer ignorance and madness”.

Environmental activist and Islamabad Wildlife Management Board chairperson Rina Saeed Khan took to Twitter to condemn the incident.

"This is a disturbing and disastrous trend on TikTok! Young people desperate for followers are setting fire to our forests during this hot and dry season!" she said.

Subsequently, within hours after it was uploaded, the video was taken down from the application.

Later, Nosheen said in a clarification released by an assistant that she did not start the fire and there was “no harm in making videos”.

In a statement issued today, the spokesperson of TikTok said that the application was working to "remove, limit or label content that depicts dangerous or illegal acts".

"We remain vigilant in our commitment to user safety and encourage everyone to exercise caution and responsibility in their behavior whether online or off," he added.

Meanwhile, Saeed said that an application of a case against Nosheen had been submitted at the Kohsar police station by the Capital Development Authority.

Earlier this month, the police arrested a man in Abbottabad for intentionally starting a forest fire as a background for a video.

The videos come as Pakistan battles one of its worst heatwave in years. Temperatures have peaked at 51 degrees Celsius in parts of the country in recent days, leaving the poor and vulnerable struggling to beat the heat.

According to the Global Climate Risk Index compiled by NGO Germanwatch, Pakistan is the eighth most vulnerable country to extreme weather caused by climate change.

However, experts say there is a lack of awareness among the population about environmental issues. Meanwhile, forest fires are common from mid-April through to the end of July, caused by searing temperatures and lightning as well as slash-and-burn farming.


Correction: A previous version of this story referred to the TikToker as Humaira Asghar when her name is Nosheen Saeed. The error is regretted.

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