• Sunday, April 14, 2024

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TikTok troll harasses Bangladeshi women in UK, leaves them ‘suicidal’

Hasan Syed is the individual targeting numerous Bangladeshi women in the UK. (Representational image from Getty)

By: Vivek Mishra

Women from the Bangladeshi community in the United Kingdom (UK) are facing severe distress due to relentless harassment from a TikTok troll.

Despite reaching out to authorities and social media platforms, many feel helpless as the abuse continues unchecked, a BBC investigation has found.

The troll, Hasan Syed, inflicts psychological trauma by stealing personal data, issuing threats, and subjecting victims to ridicule, leaving them feeling helpless and suicidal.

Bangladeshi women’s struggle

Sultana (name changed for privacy), residing in Yorkshire, shares her harrowing experience of being targetted by the troll. Using TikTok to address issues such as misogyny and toxic relationships, she became a victim after defending a friend similarly attacked.

The abuse, including threats and mockery, left her emotionally shattered, impacting her mental health and triggering PTSD.

“I have always struggled with my mental health and I have had intense therapy to get over this but it triggered my PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder),” Sultana told BBC.

“I felt that all of the hard work I had done to get better went down the drain,” she said.

Masuma, another victim from Wales, recounts her traumatic experience after declining an invitation from Syed to appear on his TikTok live stream. The refusal led to a barrage of abuse, including false accusations of being a sex worker.

“He made videos of me saying that I was a sex worker. The repercussions were severe, I had to remove all of my photos, my business phone number and reduce my live sessions,” she said.

“I received inappropriate calls and faced embarrassing inquiries from students,” Masuma told BBC.

The troll’s tactics

Hasan Syed, a Bangladeshi national, is the troll targetting numerous Bangladeshi women in the UK.

He is based in the suburbs of Paris, employing various tactics to torment his victims. By stealing personal photographs and information, he creates distressing videos, making threats and ridiculing his targets.

He torments and terrorises people by stealing personal photographs and information from their social media feed and puts them on a “green screen” in videos. Syed sometimes makes fun of their appearance and makes threats to rape and kill, reported BBC.

Kamrul’s fight for justice

Kamrul Islam and his wife and family were also targeted by the troll. Islam, upon discovering Syed’s activities, took a stand against the troll, only to face threats against his family.

Islam’s first encounter with the TikTok troll was in January 2023 when he came across Syed’s channel and said he was appalled by what he saw, he told BBC.

He made contact with Syed online to ask him to stop but it immediately put him and his family in the firing line. “He started making videos about me, he got some pictures of my son, my mum, and my wife from my Instagram account and openly threatened to rape them,” he said.

After reporting Syed to Staffordshire Police, Kamrul got in touch with TikTok to demand they take down the videos but was told they found “no violation” of their community guidelines.

He then contacted the British embassy in Paris in February 2023. Despite lodging complaints with authorities, including Interpol, the complexities of international jurisdiction and bureaucratic hurdles have hindered efforts to hold Syed accountable.

Government intervention

The UK government passed the Online Safety Bill in October last year, aiming to hold social media platforms accountable for illegal content. The government says the new law makes the internet safer for children.

A spokesman from the Department for Science, Innovation, and Technology said that people should report any threats they receive to police as social media firms were now responsible for tackling illegal content, reported BBC.


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