Where does this leave us? TikTok violates their own community guidelines that say “whoever does this will be taken off the platform.”

Who can take TikTok off of their own platform?  

Should we abandon TikTok and use a different app?

What can we do?

While some creators have chosen to take a break or leave the app entirely, others have developed ways to combat TikTok’s biased algorithm. Creators will ask or instruct viewers to like their videos, watch them multiple times, comment multiple times, and share their content.

Here’s a video from @successwithz asking followers to interact with her content:

Common themes and patterns have emerged in these comments that let other viewers know that they are resisting TikTok’s suppression. Resistance comments often include elements of humor and satire, they display a self-awareness of the situation and alter words in ways they believe won’t be flagged by TikTok as spam.

The comments can look like “B00sting for Al go rhythm,” and “Oh no, I’ve accidentally commented several times.” They use emojis and use a lot of words because this is what they believe the algorithm picks up and will help spread the video. Creators bring attention to what’s happening to them to the viewers and ask for their help in counteracting the algorithm’s suppression. Sometimes it works, and the video will go viral and end up with over one million views, a petition will be filled with signatures, or representatives will be contacted. But sometimes it doesn’t work, and the creator fades away from the For You Pages of their once excited followers. 

It’s a difficult situation knowing that you are up against a multi-billion dollar corporation that breaks its own rules, clearly showing that there is no motivation besides profit. Especially if you are a part of one of the communities that said corporation claims to protect, and yet they actively work against you. And if a reboot is necessary to fix the problem, how do we create another platform that doesn’t also hold our own new biases.

There seems to be no solution, at least not one that won’t create more problems down the road. But I think we can take a lesson from the people who are fighting back. Resistance activities can be large or small. You could make the videos, or you could follow, like, comment, and share, and you would play just as important of a role. Though watching a 60-second video and double-tapping your phone screen seems like a completely insignificant action, TikTok also has a way of blowing up videos overnight, and you never know when yours might be next.