TikTok has had its fair share of being in the spotlight. At first, the app gave us something to look forward to in the mornings during quarantine. All around the world, people–young adults, kids, even parents–were making dance videos. Essentially, the app was the new IT! But now, Tiktok is not IT anymore. So our next question should be: is this the end of the most addicting app ever? Probably not, but it should be. At least for right now.
In recent months, actually, a few weeks ago, the app has been in the media for censoring Black creators. If it’s not one thing, it’s another. More specifically, Ziggi Tyler, a popular Black TikTok creator with more than 370,000 followers, posted several videos this week demonstrating how he could not include phrases in his bio including the word “Black” without being immediately flagged for “inappropriate content.”
What is so inappropriate about including Black in one’s bio? It sounds sketchy, but most of all, it underscores how much Black creators are being censored or left out of conversations. Like I said before, it’s one thing for white creators to deliberately not give credit to those that came up with viral dances. But it’s another for the app itself to intentionally control what people can and cannot say. Is it that George Floyd’s death made everyone scared to talk about racism? Or is it that the usage of anything Black is worrisome to those who don’t want to start a political conversation?
I don’t know what it is. But it needs to change. And it needs to change as soon as possible. Or else, Black creators will continue to boycott the app, refuse to make viral videos, and eventually another platform will take over that actually gives Black creators a voice.
Ziggi Tyler’s TikTok Video
What’s Happened Since June 9th?
Of course, TikTok had to make a statement, which went as follows: “Our TikTok Creator Marketplace protections, which flag phrases typically associated with hate speech, were erroneously set to flag phrases without respect to word order. We recognize and apologize for how frustrating this was to experience, and our team has fixed this significant error,” a TikTok spokesperson said in a statement to NBC News. “To be clear, Black Lives Matter does not violate our policies and currently has over 27B views on our platform.”
Save it for the birds, to be honest! When will enough be enough? I’m sure we all were hopeful that TikTok would have learned its lesson from countless examples of Black creators boycotting the app. But clearly, they haven’t.
Although they apologized, and yes, they basically had to, do you honestly believe that things will change on the app? So let’s say the boycott had ended a week ago. Black creators had begun to make dance videos again, and in return, viral dances would be a thing again. Do we honestly believe that the app would favor Black creators over white creators? Probably. But only for a short amount of time until things died down. And that’s the problem.
My Two Cents
Above all, these apps are so used to waiting until the right moment so that things can go back to normal. When they do, and we call them out for it, would another apology suffice? I’d hope not. We need to stand our ground and delete the app altogether in hopes that a platform that favors creativity, regardless of your race, will be credited to the original choreographer, instead of some young teenagers with a pretty face getting all of the sponsors and paid advertisements.
It’s wrong and unfair. Unfair to the creators out there, but more importantly, it’s unfair to Black creators! There’s a reason why our videos go viral. Hello? Wake up! We know what looks good. I’m not hopeful for the future when it comes to TikTok. It’s sad to say, but I think, in all honesty, Black creators should delete the app completely because until we are doing better than them, that’s when they will wake up and start to make the necessary changes.
One change that should be included is a policy of plagiarism. If a creator does not credit the original creator, they should be banned for a couple of weeks. If it continues, then they should be banned permanently. And trust me, we will start to see some changes unless there are people out there who don’t care and would like to be banned from the app. If that’s the case, good riddance.
Ok, I’ve spoken enough. That’s it for now until next time.