TikTok, known for its lip music, lip-syncing, dancing, performance, stunts, and comedy short-form videos, has attracted political opinions from both sides; in this Explained, we investigate why this platform is becoming home to so much political discourse.
Earlier this week on Twitter, users posted numerous TikTok videos of people threatening civil war after the FBI raid on Mar-a-Lago. TikToks from both sides, moderate to extreme, made their way on to TikTok with no signs of slowing down, posting strong Progressive policies on their TikToks. Even the Left-wing is threatening a revolution after impactful Supreme Court decisions.
The man places his tactical gear bag next to his assault rife on his bed, with the American flag hanging above his bed, according to his TikTok; video; “Don’t mind me,” he said, “I’m just getting ready for my IRS audit.” The TikToker continues, “It’s go time,” he said, “Everybody knows exactly what I’m talking about.” The TikToker is referring to the IRS coming to audit his weapons, however, this is proven to be false.
How TikTok Became A Political Tool
Companies like TikTok and Twitter are trying to shut down these videos. The platforms have been removing videos as they violate terms of service due to threats of violence. While people are upset about the threatening videos from the left and the right, some are upset about the moderation and the restriction of free speech. Removal of these videos is deliberate, with a goal to control a narrative on each platform. The trend of these videos is not a coincidence. Due to its short-form content and reach, TikTok makes it easy to get out political viewpoints in a digestible but effective manner. These threats of the civil war occurred after the Mar-a-Lago FBI raid and the passing of the Inflation Reduction Act. Despite the company’s effort to stay apolitical, TikTok has an influx of both Left and Right-wing content.
How The Democrats Are Using TikTok
Leading up to the 2020 election, the Democratic National Committee teamed up with influencers to promote voting for Joe Biden, according to Vox. Some got invited to interview Biden on Instagram Live, and even the White House briefed TikTokers on how to inform their followers. Now that were are nearing the midterm elections, Democrats are partnering with TikTok influencers and creators to reach voters across America. The DNC even built an online organizing hub to form a community for all the influencers, surrogates, and supporters to receive party-sponsored talking points.
“Our goal is to equip grassroots supporters and volunteers with the tools to share our message with their networks and to be trusted messengers,” Shelby Cole, deputy chief marketing officer for digital content and creative for the DNC,
But this use of TikTok extends past campaigning. The Left-wing also voice their strong opinions, attempting to reach a younger demographic and help them understand politics better and start a movement. Although, some are using it to spread ideas of communism and revolution and other radical ideas.
How The Republicans Are Using Tik Tok
TikTok favors Republicans, as they have fewer videos taken down and more available on the platform and the algorithm also favors the Right. Reporters such as Tucker Carlson use TikTok to break down policies or give commentary on current events informing the public. Twitter is the opposite and shows bias against the Right-wing. According to Tucker Carlson, Twitter is notorious for taking down posts and moderating Right-wing content.
Extremism comes from both sides, the Left and Right, and do not represent the majority of public opinion: While some are threatening civil war, others use it as a tool to fight for free speech, to break down the current Liberal policies and agendas, and to explain their viewpoint in an articulate manner, such as in this video.
TikTok has exploded with political content. While there can be extreme political content and opinions from both sides, there are also logical, reasonable videos used to inform the public about current issues and policies in America and the world. TikTok has become a hotbed of political opinion and ideas with no signs of slowing down.