“"TikTok" used to be known as the video streaming app for young teens and pre-teens. But now it's a way for the left to discuss social and political issues, plus teach people how to make videos that don't offend the sensibilities of very conservative countries.
This was big news Tuesday, when TikTok finally issued a public apology for passing ads on to people who appeared to be politically biased. It was also the fall from grace of “TikTok Trolls,” who were in the headlines for being misogynist, racist, homophobic, transphobic and anti-Jewish. However, as my wife works as an administrator at Middlebury College in Vermont and continues to receive hate messages online, I now think the way TikTok is used by young liberals and progressives is much more dangerous.
Leave the liberalizing political discussion to people who think socialism is cool and whether eggs are OK. Teachers use the app every day to teach and reinforce concepts of progressive thought, and also have little kids try and make videos using apps like the “my name is Shazaam” and “Honest Baby Tips.”
But what I fear has happened with TikTok is that unlike with messaging apps like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, it's becoming a platform for the left to hurt people they disagree with.
First of all, there's the problem of their users-to-be being subjected to questionable points of view on a daily basis on TikTok. If you go to their list of categories, you will find quite a few communities that are not sortable by country, but instead only by user name. You can read their user profiles, and the postings are so incredibly outrageous it's astonishing they are posted to a college campus—especially when you read about the total filth they leave on others. They talk about sh*t in every possible way, from calling minority groups “darkies” and “wogs” to graphic descriptions of making out with multiple people, saying they're gonna “bury you alive” if their parents call the cops on them, and that women should be watched while in the bathroom.
TikTok isn't a bad message app. It's also not even known as a negative message app like Snapchat, and they get an unfairly bad rap because their users simply don't do self-censorship.
But even more shocking to me than the blatant racism, sexism, and homophobia, which are far too common in online discussion, are the kinds of content those liberal users lefties find themselves committing themselves to on a daily basis. Most of the examples of the kind of stuff they post are some type of anti-capitalist propaganda, whether it's for the likes of “A Beautiful Chorus” or the New York Times' Bernie Sanders Teen Blog, or all-out conspiracy theories like "Bernie ran us out of town!"
In another part of the university that is my wife's, one of the students threw up all over himself in a store because he was a boy that had appeared to be homosexual. People would ask, “How come they don't have this kind of problem at Middlebury?”
I spent a lot of time on that campus in the early 2000s working at the New York Times as the editor of our college’s fiction section. I can still remember a classroom where the students were sharing their opinion of Bill O'Reilly and how we should have a panel discussion on why “we dislike him” and not just their editorials.
Being liberal and a progressive are two very different things. But we liberals are willing to appear to be both—but we're not willing to admit that's what we are. No doubt TikTok has been used by left-wing students at universities around the country to rail against a high-tax, high-spending, high-regulation government.
It is unfortunate that liberals on this campus believe that a forum for counter-discussion is one to be ignored and hides behind complicated jargon, multiple post board comments, and a public record of the ugly language being used to counter conservatives.
Left-wing students and liberals on this campus are promoting their ideologies above reason and equal rights for others—which comes across as more toxic and hateful than anything they've ever put on the screen. Their radical statements on TikTok are a direct result of a worldview that is now ingrained in their students. If these young progressives keep pushing their beliefs on students like my wife, there will come a day when conservative students, teachers, and conservative parents will be forced to confront them at the school gates and when their social-media followers will point out how anti-intellectual they truly are.