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Tik Tok, Suppression, and How to Help this Black History Month

The month of February is Black History Month. For Black History Month, I spent my time trying to educate myself on Black history and the issues that Black communities are currently facing. I have read articles and watched many documentaries, but without a doubt, I can say that I have gotten most of my new knowledge from Tik Tok.

Tik Tok is notorious for its fast-paced trendy videos. It’s an app where people go to have a nice laugh or to scroll and kill time. Beyond that, the app became a place for POC creators to not only post for fun but to also speak out about issues in their communities. This was until it became very apparent that Tik Tok is allegedly shadow-banning POC creators, predominantly Black Creators.

Tik Toker and Youtuber Tee Noir posted a video to YoutTube entitled TikTok vs Black Creators: If You Hate Us Just Say Dat, where she explains that in her personal experience after joining the creator fund TikTok allegedly slowed down her views. This was done by not passing down her videos to the general public’s For You Pages.

Noir then goes on to bring up an important point: “…It’s not that Tik Tok necessarily favored me, it’s that my followers helped me outsmart this algorithm that was plotting on my downfall from day one, allegedly.”

Although Tik Tok may or may not be showing Black creators videos as much as they should, we, the audience, are also at fault. It’s a hard pill to swallow but by not liking and boosting the POC creators we enjoy watching on Tik Tok, we don’t allow them the success and credit they deserve.

This is how incidents such as Jalaiah Harmon’s happen. Harmon is a 14-year-old Tik Tok Creator who created Tik Tok’s infamous Renegade dance. This dance became famous when big Tik Tokers posted themselves doing the dance to Tik Tok without crediting her. These creators who have millions of followers were able to profit off of a dance they stole from smaller Black creators.

This isn’t a one-time incidence. Big accounts steal dances from smaller creators and profit off of them while those small accounts are left in the dust.

Even though TikTok currently has a Black History Month live session using the hashtag #MakeBlackHistory, it is important to remember that Black Creators and Black history matter outside of the month of February. When this month ends, we need to do our part and continue to boost and engage with the content Black creators post.

Black creators are constantly taken advantage of and never given credit for their contributions, and while this has been an issue for generations, we can break that unconscious cycle and do our part and boost Black voices and content.

Hey, my name is Joanna but I go by Joe. I’m a Journalism major at SJSU. I love music, plants, photography, and writing.
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