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TikTok is too important to ignore
It’s me! I’m the problem, it’s me. To cite Taylor Swift. My name is Marcus. You are reading Understanding TikTok. The New York Times has a Latecomer’s Guide to TikTok and i think that is beautiful. The Guardian meanwhile has a full article series called The TikTok takeover. Today we talk about:
🦅 Midterms: Misleading Messages
🦇 Midnights Marketing Mayhem
🔬 Investigate TikTok Like a Pro
🦅 US midterms: Disinformation and Distrust
We are just a couple of days away from the US midterms 2022 (#88). And while TV prepares for a chaotic midterm night (NYT) here is a little status update. You might have guessed. TikTok is too important to ignore (Bloomberg). It is the fastest-growing social media app, with more than 100 million users in the United States. Ten percent of all U.S. adults now regularly get news from the app, according to a study from the Pew Research Center (Washington Post).
Nearly 30 percent of all major-party candidates in Senate races have TikTok accounts, and one-fifth of all major-party House candidates have an account on the platform, according to a new analysis from the Alliance for Securing Democracy, a U.S.-based nonprofit group that examines efforts by foreign nations to interfere in democratic institutions (Washington Post).
Even President Biden’s popping up on TikTok even though it’s banned in the White House (Bloomberg). He sat for an interview with a panel of six young activists organized by NowThis News. “The interview was intended as a back door for the White House into one of the fastest-growing social media platforms for politics and news, one the White House can’t access directly itself: TikTok Inc.” Oh and here is more on the Democrats’ elaborate attempt to woo TikTok influencers by Taylor Lorenz (Washington Post). And this is Obama under the desk.
Despite its own shiny pronouncements (Our commitment to election integrity) TikTok failed to catch 90 percent of ads featuring false and misleading messages about elections (New York Times): The test, run by the watchdog group Global Witness and the Cybersecurity for Democracy team at the New York University Tandon School of Engineering, used dummy accounts to submit 10 ads in English and 10 in Spanish to the social media services.
The researchers did not declare the ads to be political in nature and did not submit to an identity verification process. TikTok rejected only one ad in English and one in Spanish, in what the researchers called “a major failure.” TikTok banned political advertising in 2019.
🦇 Midnights Marketing Mayhem
TikTok has launched a new education program for marketers called ‘TikTok Academy’, which provides free video courses on how to make best use of TikTok for marketing, along with research data and other information to expand your understanding of the app (Social Media Today).
If you want to skip the beginner’s part and watch a marketing masterclass may i recommend Midnights Mayhem With Me aka Taylor Swifts team doing what needs to be done. To call what Swift is doing with this album release “online savvy” or “audience engagement” or “marketing” is to undersell it, writes Caroline Mimbs Nyce Nymbs for The Atlantic.
Swift has currently taken over the entire US top 10 becoming the first artist in history to claim every spot. She overtakes Drake, who held the previous record of nine top 10 singles in September 2021. Before him, the Beatles scored eight top 10s in 1964. And now please do not ask me who was the first who scored seven. Thanks.
🔬 Investigate TikTok Like a Pro
The fabulous Ciarán O'Connor who has amongst other things – published the ISD report Hatescape: An In-Depth Analysis of Extremism and Hate Speech on TikTok – has written a great article on how to investigate TikTok for Bellingcat: How to Investigate TikTok Like a Pro - Part II: Using TikTok for Ukraine Research.
Among the topics covered are: Tips on content searches and how to find metadata on the app. Using third party tools and browser plugins to extract audio, text from images, and conduct real-time translation. Recording your work as you go and how to get the best out of the app and web browser versions.
The article includes a hell lot of practical hands on tips, tricks and many very useful examples. It is great to see what you can achieve by using simple third party tools like Shazam (yes, Shazam) or the Voice Typing function on Google Docs. And just to remind myself again and again and again: “Archive, catalogue and save content as you go as conflict videos often get quickly taken down. Screenshot pages using one-click tools as you work.” Indeed!
🥜 Maybe you are one of the happy few people on this planet who are not producing a podcast, have not produced a podcast or are not even thinking about producing a podcast. Whatever. Here is a nice round-up. TikTok for Podcasters: Ideas and Inspiration
🥜 The term "digital camera trend" has 137.3 million views; "vintage digital camera" has 177.3 million views while "cheap digital camera" has 26.5 million views. The hashtag #digitalcamera has 128.1 million and counting. It seems as if TikTok is bringing back the '00s digital camera (Mashable)
🥜 TikTok Will Tell Creators When You Save Their Video This new feature adds to TikTok's growing effort to provide users with a more transparent platform (Gizmodo). Just to be clear. You can deactivate the download function if you want.
🥜 A China-Based ByteDance Team Investigated TikTok's Global Security Chief, Who Oversaw U.S. Data Concerns (Forbes). Oh, and TikTok is spelling out to its European users that their data can be accessed by employees outside the continent, including in China, amid political and regulatory concerns about Chinese access to user information on the platform (Guardian).
🚰 You can still throw your phone into the ocean and start living in one of these cabins. Unless, speak soon. Ciao.