by Adele Gaburo ’21
Published Oct. 8th, 2020
During this partisan year, America’s youth are taking to social media to share their views.
One of the more popular social media outlets for teens is TikTok, a platform that they can express themselves on. One of the major appeals of the app is that it makes it easy for videos to “go viral.”
This leads to many young people using their newfound fame to spread awareness about current social issues like Black Lives Matter, police brutality, and gun control. However, expressing a political opinion almost always creates tension, and TikTok is no exception. In fact, TikTok has aided the creation of a new form of hate: Cancel Culture.
Cancel Culture is defined by Dictionary.com as “the popular practice of withdrawing support for (canceling) public figures and companies after they have done or said something considered objectionable or offensive.” TikTok has fueled this Cancel Culture fire by acting as a means for teens to “cancel” their families, their peers, and even people they do not know.
Instead of trying to educate or talk to people who they feel are in the wrong, teen TikTokers hide behind their screens and make videos about them.
For example, there has been a lot of upset on Tik Tok recently regarding a controversial beauty trend called “blackfishing.” Blackfishing is essentially when non Black people alter their skin tone, hair, and bodies to make themselves look African American. This, coupled with the rise of the BLM movement, has made the Black community denounce the use of heavy filters, extensive tanning, and makeup as cultural appropriation.
In the case of the controversy surrounding blackfishing, as well as other socio-political issues on the app, young Tik Tokers resort to tearing each other down instead of trying to educate each other. This further inflames the divide between opposing sides. TikTok issues usually lead to more arguing and tension, as those behind the screen have little understanding of how the other person feels.