What did I say? I'll share the video down at the bottom of this but first I want to share...
I’ve been pendulating between feeling like I’m going to vomit and feeling validated the last few days. I’ve been watching the engagement on one of my TikTok posts blowing up and it’s bringing up so many feels.
There’s a fear of being heard and seen by so many for saying things about our culture that are spicy yet necessary now. There’s tingles of social acceptance because the majority of the engagement is in agreement and showing gratitude for my words. There’s also a little resentment towards people in my more recent past who shut me down and tried to “cancel” me for speaking and collectively addressing what they preferred to keep hidden.
I could use this time to write about how I’m surfing my emotions and nervous system reactions to all of this attention, but I’d rather talk about something I think is more important instead.
Our freedom of speech and accessing information.
I have watched my engagement on Meta owned social media apps Instagram and Facebook steadily decline in the past two years. The more I speak about our cultural issues, the less positive engagement I receive. It’s not only because the people following are not resonating with what I post, or scared to acknowledge they agree with a like or a comment, it’s because most aren’t seeing my posts period.
I’ve had several people tell me they have to intentionally go to my IG and Facebook profile page to see my posts because they no longer show in their feed. I know this is true because I do the same to see people I follow. The algorithm fills my feed with influencers, ads, cute animal videos and people continuing to fuel the culture war while calls for awareness and community centered posts get shadow banned.
I’m not surprised the government is talking about banning TikTok and no, I don’t think it has anything to do with China and homeland security. We saw the power of TikTok in 2020 after George Floyd’s murder. Social media revealed the shadow of our country in real time. Gil Scott-Heron told us the revolution would not be televised but, thanks to TikTok, it sure has been live-streamed and viralized.
Yes, social media has the power to distract. It causes body dysmorphia and unrealistic expectations about ourselves but, let’s be honest, we’ve had those problems since long before social media and filters arrived.
If it weren’t for TikTok, We would not have seen militarized police responding to constitutionally protected protests. We would not have heard each other’s stories about how we experience our shared realities. The immense amount of peer to peer education that is available on TikTok is incredible and if you’re afraid to go there because of the anti clock-app hype, you aren’t protecting yourself, you’re falling behind.
Meta and Google already mine our data and use it to manipulate through targeted ads for both products and politics. China owns roughly 384,000 acres of U.S. agricultural land, some of which borders military installations. The U.S. doesn’t see that as a security threat, but they want us to believe access to our name, phone number and email address is? Have we forgotten about those giant books that used to be printed and arrive on everyone’s doorstep not that long ago? Or that Meta is allowed to save your credit card information when you make purchases in the app?
Meta, Google and the US government have a lot to gain if TikTok is banned. With TikTok out of the way, meta and Google lose their competition and the government doesn’t need to worry about us pesky Americans learning about the world from a decolonial lens. Meta and Google collect more information than TikTok while they dictate what is seen by what holds the most potential for power and profit.
I’m not sure what decision will be made in terms of a TikTok prohibition, but I do think that if it goes in that direction we’ll have more issues to respond to rather than less.
As promised, here's the video: