TikTok Newsletter 59

Pro Russian Propaganda. NFTs. Top Ten TikTokers in Zimbabwe


This is Understanding TikTok – your weekly TikTok 🤸 update. My name is Marcus. I will talk about “What journalists can learn from TikTok” at the East Africa Story Telling Festival 2021 next week. And i will be on holiday besides that. Expect the next newsletter end of October.

This week we talk about:

🇷🇺 For You: Pro Russian Propaganda
🎁 NFTs: TikTok Top Moments
🇿🇼 Top Ten: Zim TikTokers

🇷🇺 For You: Pro Russian Propaganda

This week an article by France 24 caught my eye. Their weekly TV show Observers covered a story on pro-russian propaganda on TikTok based on a Twitter thread by @florida-sophia, a Columbia University student in New York.

Sophia is particularly interested in a TikTok account called Soapbox. Soapbox is a Russian funded media outlet, but they market themselves as progressive, left-leaning, and very politically engaged.

Soapbox is a part of the Maffick group (their influencers obviously share posts in the offices see above), which includes other media such as "In the Now" and "Wast-Ed". Company records say that 51% of Maffick is owned by Ruptly, a subsidiary of RT, a major Russian state-funded broadcaster, according to CNN. By the way: YouTube has just deleted RT’s German channels over Covid misinformation.

On Facebook and Twitter, Soapbox is flagged as a Russian state-controlled media outlet. TikTok, however, posts no such warning on the account. For context: I covered Russian TikTok in newsletter 33.

🎁 NFTs: TikTok Top Moments

Because no peace can be found in the age of man, TikTok has decided to partner with select creators, celebrities, and online entities like Lil Nas X, Bella Poarch, and Grimes to release a collection of non-fungible tokens, writes The Verge.

Wait, what?! NFTs. If you have no idea here is a short explanation by Paris Hilton. Twitter is working on some kind of NFT integration, Facebook is doing something and now TikTok starts flirting with NFTs (Techcrunch). Why?

Here is TikToks take on the drop site: “Inspired by the creativity and innovation of the TikTok creator community, TikTok is exploring the world of NFTs as a new creator empowerment tool. NFTs are a new way for creators to be recognized and rewarded for their content and for fans to own culturally-significant moments on TikTok.”

Creator empowerment tool – well played. TikTok Top Moments will be made available on cryptocurrency Ethereum and will go on sale October 6. It’s clearly a niche early experiment. But let’s see...

🇿🇼 Top Ten: Zim TikTokers

The TikTok Cultures Research Network held its fourth virtual event TikTok and Social Movements on 20 September 202. And i finally managed to to watch some of the presentations. Okay, in fact i have only seen one so far.

TikTok in Zimbabwe caught my eye because i am currently doing an online workshop there to teach TikTok.

I was happy to see that the participants of my workshop knew most of the top ten. Honestly i am a fan now of Silvia Gogo “Mom of 4. Grandma to 10. I love dancing, making comedy, dancing with my Bae.” What else is it to be?!

🐬 Stuff

🌊 Everything’s cringey until it gets views - yes? no? maybe? Taylor Lorenz on Party Shirt.

🌊 What I really want to tell them, though, is to just enjoy the shit out of their lives right now. Rebecca Jennings was 24 hours offline with the VIPs of NYC TikTok

🌊 On a warm summer night, I biked to the lakefront home of Joanne Lee Molinaro — better known as the Korean Vegan. Washington Post

🌊 Felipe, who was unemployed, took the job working for TikTok, the social media giant. Brazilian Workers

🌊 Insider has 23 power players using TikTok to shape the music industry in 2021,

Thanks for reading. Take care. And now.