Social media for younger generations can lie at the center of social interaction. Platforms such as TikTok, Snapchat and Instagram, can act as a space for self expression, business, and international social engagement that knows no bounds. But all of these platforms have faced accusations of repressing Blackness and the content of Black creators. The hashtag #BlackTikTokStrike has become a movement, as Black creators are protesting TikTok for various reasons, but I’ll go into two primary ones below…
One, lack of credit for their work. Black creators often face having their work stolen by non-black TikTokers that end up with more credit and engagement than the actual creator–hence, monetizing the work of Black creators. Keara Wilson for example, the original creator of the viral “Savage” TikTok dance, had her creation, alongside other Black creators’ creations, performed on SNL by Addison Rae. Addison Rae is a white TikToker ranked top five for most-followed TikTok accounts. She was asked by SNL to come perform the piece, for which Addison had gained lots of traction from. This is by no means an uncommon or new situation.
“For as long as America has existed, Black people have had their work and art stolen. The trend dates back to when innovations by Black people were routinely stolen by white slave owners who erased any memory of their true creators.” – Blavity News
Two, the suppression of #BlackLivesMatters content. A series of videos has sparked controversy, as these videos show how the TikTok algorithm actually represses your ability to reach people with content centered around pro-Blackness and pro-BlackLivesMatters. The claims are that you can type in “supporting white supremacy” or anything along those guidelines, and it’ll allow you. But Black related statements such as “Black success,” or Black Lives Matters outside of the hashtag are marked “inappropriate content.” Check the video below.
More than this, Black influencers have come forward about their pay disparities compared to their white counterparts for the same kind of work. Have these popular apps turned into a call for activism?