Tiktok: An Unconventional Platform for Advocacy

BY: CLAIRE KIM

800 million users worldwide. 1 App. And it’s about to get banned in the US.

Within the past year, Tiktok has grown into one of the most popular, if not most popular, social media apps across all age groups, ranging from young adolescents who create dance content to adults who share cooking recipes. The “video version” of Instagram, this app allows users to share their creativity, explore trends, and, most importantly, get informed about current events or social justice issues not spotlighted by the media.

Yes, Tiktok does have its flaws if you curate your for your page to look like a montage of inappropriate, drama-loaded videos. But that’s on you. Truly, from my experience using the app, I have stumbled across several videos and social media creators that genuinely share something of value. They advocate for change and aren’t afraid of clapping back at society for ignoring their words.

Confidence and advocacy? The Black Lives Matter Movement is just one of many examples.

Seeing black individuals use their platforms to speak up about their personal experiences with racism, watching videos directly filmed from the Black Lives Matter marches, scrolling through informational snippets of black history that shares the brutality that I never got exposed to from my white-washed history classes, I have gained a far more impactful understanding of the movement than when I first read the phenomenon from biased media sources.

In short, it gave me a sense of clarity.

Now, I don’t want to make it seem like I am praising Tiktok as the most “credible” news source out there, because, obviously, it isn’t. It’s a social media app at the end of the day. But, I do want to give it some credit for providing this global platform, allowing users to share their stories and insight that would’ve never been recognized had the app not been present.

Those individuals who view Tiktok as a playground of nonsense, deserving of getting banned in the US, need to understand that such perspectives appropriate the stereotype that social media is just “toxic” and “useless” when really Generation Z has made an effort to use this app as a platform for advocacy amidst the hundreds of dance and cooking videos online.

Personally, I’d rather bear watching such comedic, creative videos if I’m able to get informed from time to time.

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