Man with cleaning products cleaning grafitti that says 'I heart hamas'


TikTok repeatedly deleted creator’s video of ‘I heart Hamas’ graffiti clean-up

The video was restored for a second time Wednesday.


Katherine Huggins


Franky Bernstein, a prominent Jewish content creator, is slamming TikTok after the platform twice removed a video he posted showing the removal of pro-Hamas graffiti on the Washington Square Arch in New York City.

Bernstein is the founder of Nice Jewish, a community that describes itself as for everyone, where “you don’t have to be Jewish, just nice.”

The TikTok saga began on Monday after Bernstein posted a video of himself attempting unsuccessfully to remove graffiti on the arch with a spray bottle and cloth.

Graffiti on the arch included messages reading: “I [heart] Hamas,” “Live Laugh Love Hamas,” “Free Palestine,” “Intifada,” and “Glory to the Resistance.”

@frankybernstein some H-groupies sprayed graffiti on the Washington Square Arch… #nyc ♬ Frolic (Theme from "Curb Your Enthusiasm" TV Show) – Luciano Michelini

Bernstein posted a follow-up video of the graffiti being successfully removed by a Parks and Recreation employee with a power washer later that day.

“That’s very satisfying,” he says as he watches the removal. He then thanked the employees who took down the graffiti and offered to buy them a coffee before telling the camera, “dude free America from Hamas bro, what is this shit?”

On Monday night, Bernstein’s second video—which shows the graffiti being cleaned—was removed by TikTok for the first time for allegedly violating the site’s Community Guidelines. Bernstein added in his story that it was removed for showing “criminal activity.”

Bernstein posted a screenshot of his appeal, stating: “This is a video of city workers removing hate speech from a national monument and is in no way ‘criminal activity,’ it is the opposite. It’s cleaning up criminal activity.”

The appeal was successful, and the video was restored to TikTok Tuesday morning—but that restoration was short-lived.

“A different moderator took it down again,” Bernstein said in an Instagram post on Tuesday. “This is blatant at this point.”

He said the video was instead cited for “harassment and bullying” and that it appeared to be permanently banned by the platform.

Following TikTok’s second removal, Bernstein rebuked the platform’s practices and called for his community to come together to do something.

“I have spent almost 3 years building a community of over half a million Jewish people and our friends on TikTok to fight hate and now I can’t even post because I removed graffiti from a national monument,” he wrote.

Bernstein claimed that bots are mass-reporting his and other Jewish content creators’ videos, saying “pro-Hamas moderators are taking down the content while hateful content towards [Jews] is running rampant.”

He continued: “People say ‘boycott TikTok’ which is not the answer because then we stand completely voiceless on their platform. We need to come together and do something about this.”

The comment section under the post detailing TikTok’s actions showed a large outcry, with users commending Bernstein for removing the graffiti and others criticizing TikTok.

After the Daily Dot inquired about the matter, the video was restored.

Bernstein said he was not formally notified of its reinstatement but saw it had been re-uploaded after randomly checking the app.

A TikTok spokesperson told the Daily Dot on Wednesday that the video was reinstated and that creators can appeal when they believe content is wrongly removed.

The company also said that its moderation teams receive training that addresses implicit bias as well as TikTok’s policies regarding hateful and extremist content.

Bernstein’s episode is not the first time concerns have been raised about TikTok’s content moderation practices, particularly in the wake of the outbreak of the current conflict in Gaza, which has fueled a surge in both antisemitic and Islamophobic hate speech across platforms.

In early November, a group of Jewish content creators and celebrities accused TikTok in a letter of failing to protect Jewish creators and the community on its platform. The group said creators were receiving daily death threats and other threatening comments and harassment. Members of Congress have also blasted the app, claiming its pro-Palestine bent is radicalizing young people.

In a statement shared on its website the same day as the letter’s publication, TikTok said that antisemitism has never been allowed on its platform and that in the weeks following Oct. 7, it had removed hundreds of thousands of videos that violated “policies around violence, hate speech, misinformation, and terrorism, including content promoting Hamas.”

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