TikTok Bans Hate Speech Against Women—but Not Against Men

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TikTok is a highly problematic app.

As I have discussed elsewhere, the video-focused social networking service owned by Chinese company ByteDance harvests biometric data from all users in the United States, including “faceprints” and “voiceprints.”

Considering there are now more than 130 million TikTok users in the United States alone, the harvesting of biometric data should be viewed as a national security threat. Data is the new oil. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is busy drilling. It’s also busy creating a global biometric database.

Moreover, there is reason to believe that the app is being used as a tool to spy on the American people. The CCP owns a stake in ByteDance, TikTok’s parent company. The deal, which occurred last year, allowed the CCP to appoint a board director at ByteDance.

It’s clear to see that the most downloaded app in the world is problematic for a whole host of reasons. It facilitates the spread of misinformation and disinformation and allows Beijing to snoop on the American public.

Interestingly (and rather worryingly), the app also allows people to spout hateful comments and amass millions of followers. For years it has allowed users to post the most hateful content imaginable.

In February of this year, however, TikTok banned users from deadnaming (the act of referring to a transgender person by a name they used before transitioning) and misgendering.

In an attempt to clean up its questionable platform, TikTok has also banned posts that include misogyny, which involves hateful or prejudiced comments against women. The company noted that these changes were introduced to add “clarity on the types of hateful ideologies prohibited on our platform.”

Interestingly, one of the hateful ideologies not prohibited on its platform is misandry, which involves hatred of men.

I must credit the author Rollo Tomassi for bringing this to my attention. Tomassi can be found on YouTube and Instagram, but you won’t find the pragmatic preacher on TikTok.

“You’d think this platform [TikTok] would be an expansive goldmine for us,” he told me, “but it’s much the opposite.”

As a media, continued Tomassi, “TikTok is far too temporal and controlled to be anything but entertainment for the 12 to 29 demographic. Here today, gone tomorrow. It’s the vanity followership media that its Chinese parent company knows the average American can’t resist.”

TikTok, he argued, “is for children and adults who never mature past an adolescent social skill set. Nothing defines the TL;DR Generation [too long; didn’t read] like TikTok. This generation’s attention span is measured in 49-second increments.”

He’s right.

Misogyny Goes, Misandry Stays

Sixty percent of TikTok users are female; one-third of users are between the ages of 10 and 19.

As the author Christina Alvarez-Correa has noted, “there are plenty of impressionable minors who view salacious content and become desensitized to the sexualization of women.”

Sadly, they may find themselves becoming desensitized to the demonization of men.

Epoch Times Photo
A man wearing a shirt promoting TikTok is seen at an Apple store in Beijing, China, on July 17, 2020. (Ng Han Guan/AP Photo)

On TikTok, Tomassi told me, misandrist “messaging abounds,” but “the word has too many syllables to fit into a 59-second video for the average woman-child influencer. Ain’t nobody got time for that. Misandry and commiserating about women’s dating options in the 21st century is a staple of female TikTok influencers.”

Tomassi then discussed an influencer named Drew Afualo, who has been “catapulted to TikTok royalty.” Why has Afualo been catapulted to a position of such prestige? In short, by creating extremely hateful content focusing on men’s supposed shortcomings.

To call Afualo an influencer is to do her a disservice. With 6.8 million followers on TikTok alone, Ms. Afualo’s videos, many of which overflow with horrible comments about men, reach a wide audience. If you have the stomach for it, this video perfectly encapsulates what Afualo is all about.

Now, before going any further down this rabbit hole littered with landmines, let me state the following: I am not attacking Afualo. I am highlighting the double standards that exist on TikTok. Men are not allowed to post hateful content about women, and rightly so. But why are women allowed to post—and profit from—hateful comments about men?

Afualo, a self-confessed radical, left-leaning feminist, has equated male pattern baldness with misogyny. Now, imagine if a man released a video equating hair loss in women with the hatred of men. Would he be allowed to continue posting content on TikTok? No, of course not. Today, with calls for greater levels of equality, shouldn’t all sinners, regardless of sex, be treated equally?

The fact that Afualo is allowed to disseminate such harmful content should not come as a major surprise. After all, authors still wonder aloud if it’s okay to call all men trash. The answer appears, in case you are wondering, to be yes.

We’re told that the rise of the TikTok feminist is something to be celebrated. In truth, though, it’s not.

As the abovementioned Alvarez-Correa has noted, fourth-wave feminism, which focuses heavily on combating “toxic masculinity” (a nonsensical term that is designed to thrill rather than inform), has actively “explored the methods to empower women using digital tools to navigate gender norms in the context of society and politics.”

According to the author, such radical self-ownership “has prompted pop culture to normalize content that many would consider lewd, offensive and even falling under the category of soft pornography.”

In “a postmodern feminist society,” she asked, “is TikTok propelling the feminist movement into a progressive or regressive state?” The latter, I argue, as have other authors very much in the know. Afualo’s expletive-laden posts are just one example of the regression.

I reached out to TikTok representatives for comment on the matter, but I did not receive a response by press time.

This should come as no surprise. Afualo, a leading influencer, is a cash cow for TikTok; her videos have racked up more than 120 million views.

Tomassi told me that the term “influencer” should “scare the hell” out of us all. We are now “at the point where our assessment of anyone or anything we view on quick-hit social media defines our understanding of it. Influence, emotionalism, dopamine, and 15-second attention spans make for good gambling-addict consumers, but it’s a dangerous way to form social imperatives.”

Perhaps. But it’s a great way to make a living on TikTok if you happen to be a female with a controversial take on men.

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.

John Mac Ghlionn


John Mac Ghlionn is a researcher and essayist. His work has been published by the New York Post, The Sydney Morning Herald, Newsweek, National Review, and The Spectator US, among others. He covers psychology and social relations, and has a keen interest in social dysfunction and media manipulation.

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