Imagine this, you open TikTok, looking for a funny video to recreate. You come across people dancing, lip-syncing popular songs, and creating artistic videos. Then you check your “For You” Page and video loads; that is obviously seen as satire, but talks about the ongoing crisis of Muslims being held in concentration camps in China.
Using a platform, such as TikTok, is a great way to spread awareness, but since TikTok is owned by ByteDance, a Beijing-based company, a lot of these awareness videos get taken down, particularly if they are regarding China’s treatment of Uighur Muslims. One TikTok that was posted by previously irrelevant user, Feroza Aziz starts off with her curling her eyelashes, the video appears to be about beauty tips, but then quickly transitions to an educational video on the Xinjiang re-education camps. In the comments, others discover that they were not made aware of this information prior to the video and thank the user for posting about it.
The lack of coverage of the Uighur Muslisms is prevalent, but on social media, news spreads at the speed of light especially news including misinformation with the current situation.. With young eyes watching everywhere, social media users use this to their advantage. TikTok has since taken the video down due to the content’s political sensitivities, but it is reposted on several websites.
TikTokers have used the app to also spread awareness of the pollution and climate strikes particularly the Amazon rain forest fires and Australia’s bush fires. While people may make satirical videos as a coping mechanism for themselves and others, it also encourages us to research the situations at hand. With younger people mostly dominating the app, TikTok exposes us to the news we probably wouldn’t see otherwise.