This seems like a somewhat uncomfortable partnership announcement, especially given more recent investigations into TikTok in Europe.
But then again, it also makes sense on some level too – today, TikTok has announced a new partnership with UFC which will see the sports broadcaster publish a range of exclusive content within the app.
As explained by TikTok:
“Today we’re excited to announce a multi-year partnership with UFC, the world’s premier mixed martial arts organization, to deliver exclusive live-stream content for UFC fans on TikTok around the world. The weekly live-streams will feature pre-and post-fight access, behind-the-scenes footage and engagement with UFC athletes, and other exclusive content executions for TikTok.”
That will like bring a lot more UFC fans to the app, while the UFC TikTok account already has over 6.3 million followers, making it the third most-followed sports league on the platform.
Given the sport’s popularity among TikTok’s audience, the partnership does make sense – but as noted, increasing the amount of violent content on the platform also seems like poor timing, given the app’s more recent investigations in Italy.
Last month, Italian authorities temporarily blocked access to TikTok for users whose age could not be proven definitively, following claims that a 10 year-old girl had died after taking part in a “blackout challenge” in the app. The challenge sees users choking themselves in their clips.
The European Commission is also investigating further claims that TikTok exposes young users to inappropriate content – and within this environment, adding even more footage of people beating the heck out of each other seems like not the ideal timing, at the least.
But UFC is also a legitimate sport, with millions of fans around the world, and the partnership will add more unique, popular content to the platform. It just has a way to go in ensuring younger audiences are restricted from such – but for marketers who are looking to reach the UFC crowd, this could definitely be worthy of note.
The new UFC and TikTok partnership will begin this week with content created around UFC Fight Night: Blaydes vs Lewis on Saturday, February 20th.
Iran pop singer silenced, but his song remains a protest anthem
Shervin Hajipour’s song “Baraye” draws on the tweets of Iranians longing for a normal life – Copyright Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP)/AFP –
Even though he has been silenced, Iranian pop singer Shirvin Hajipour’s impassioned song in support of protests over Mahsa Amini’s death in custody remains an unofficial anthem of the movement.
The song “Baraye” notched up 40 million views on Instagram before it was deleted when Hajipour was arrested, but he has since been freed on bail and has distanced himself from politics, likely as a condition for his release.
Baraye, the Persian word “For” or “Because”, is composed of tweets about the protests and highlights longings people have for things lacking in sanctions-hit Iran, where many complain of hardship caused by economic mismanagement.
It also draws on everyday activities that have landed people in trouble with the authorities in the Islamic republic.
“For the sake of dancing in the streets; Because of the fear felt while kissing; For my sister, your sister, your sisters,” the song’s lyrics say.
“Because of the embarrassment of an empty pocket; Because we are longing for a normal life… Because of this polluted air.”
Baraye has been heard played loudly at night from apartment blocks in Iran to show support for protests sparked by Amini’s death on September 16, after the notorious morality police arrested her for allegedly breaching rules requiring women to wear hijab headscarves and modest clothes.
It was also sung with gusto by the Iranian diaspora at rallies in more than 150 cities around the world at the weekend.
In one clip shared by the New York-based Center for Human Rights in Iran, a group of schoolgirls without headscarves is seen singing Baraye in class with their backs to the camera.
The tune was removed from Hajipour’s Instagram account shortly after his arrest but is still widely available on other social media platforms, including Twitter and YouTube.
– ‘Because of forced Instagram stories’ –
Hajipour’s lawyer Majid Kaveh said he was released on bail at noon on Tuesday.
The reformist Shargh newspaper said his family had been informed of his arrest in the northern city of Sari on Saturday, in a report that cited his sister Kamand Hajipour.
She had said in an Instagram post that her parents had been informed of his arrest in a call from the city’s intelligence ministry offices.
Shortly after his release, Hajipour was back on Instagram, but this time to apologise and distance himself from politics.
“I’m here to say I’m okay,” he told his 1.9 million followers on the platform.
“But I’m sorry that some particular movements based outside of Iran — which I have had no relations with — made some improper political uses of this song.
“I would not swap this (country) for anywhere else and I will stay for my homeland, my flag, my people, and I will sing.
“I don’t want to be a plaything for those who do not think of me, you or this country,” he added.
In response to his post, many on Twitter suggested the line “Because of forced Instagram stories” should be added to the lyrics of the song.
Human rights groups including Article 19 have repeatedly called on Iran to end its use of forced confessions, which they say are false and extracted under duress or even torture.
In one recent case, a young Iranian woman, Sepideh Rashno, disappeared after becoming involved in a dispute on a Tehran bus with another woman who accused her of removing her headscarf.
She was held by the powerful Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and appeared on television in what activists said was a forced confession before being released on bail in late August.
Iran pop singer silenced, but his song remains a protest anthem
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