ROD THOMSON: Conservatives should be fighting back on TikTok

Conservatives need to stop bragging that they are not on TikTok because it is a Chinese spy app. It’s not as enlightened as it sounds and not helpful to the cause of conservatism or America. Yes, it is certainly a Chinese spy app, at least in the metadata collection sense. And yes, the Chinese are our primary foreign enemy and have nefarious intentions for America.

But TikTok’s far greater threat is that it is a Chinese propaganda app to young American minds. Conservatives abandon that battlefield to progressives and other anti-Americans at a great disservice to the cause of saving America for future generations. We cannot cede yet more cultural territory to the civilization destroyers.

This element of TikTok has become excruciatingly clear since the 10-7 massacres in Israel by the demonic hordes of Hamas. The ratio of pro-Hamas to pro-Israel views on the social media app is indeed startling. For instance, searches for the terms #standwithpalestine and #standwithisrael on TikTok shows that #standwithpalestine had 4.4 billion views worldwide as of Monday, while #standwithisrael had 532 million views worldwide — a nearly 9-to-1 ratio.

And now trending on TikTok is Osama bin Laden’s apparently Jeffersonian Letter to America after slaughtering 3,000 civilian men, women and children on Sept. 11, 2002. Conservatives and other critics understandably are claiming that TikTok’s algorithm is being manipulated by the Chinese in favor of the Palestinian cause. This is certainly a plausible accusation when it comes to the Beijing Communists. But no one really knows, because that algorithm is a more closely guarded secret than the Biden family’s briberies.

What we do know is that TikTok’s user base is heavily skewed toward young people, and because of the dumpster fire of ignorance, Marxism and trans radicalism that is the American education system, young people heavily skew toward the Palestinian side in their virtual absence of historical knowledge. So it is possible that this ratio may accurately reflect what users are actually choosing to view based on demographics.

If the Chinese Communists were going to manipulate these outcomes, it is just as plausible they would do so to maximize division in America, which could mean a far more equal distribution of views to keep everyone at maximum anger against each other.

TikTok’s state-secret-level algorithm voraciously responds to a user’s engagement, in view length, likes, comments, duets or bookmarks. (This is one of the metadata collection points.) You can tweak what you are seeing pretty quickly by engaging a few videos on the same topic and in short order you will be seeing a lot of that topic, interspersed with other topics that seem designed to addict you to always just one more swipe. It’s deadly effective in this way.

I totally support people not being on TikTok as casual users. That’s a given for any social media, and particularly the most addictive on the market. But conservatives choosing to not create content on TikTok leads to a much bigger problem. By not creating conservative video messages, they are helping the algorithm organically boost more progressive content to the young minds that so heavily populate the app — without any interference from Beijing.

This presents severe consequences as a depressing number of young adults use TikTok as their news source. In 2022, over 25 percent of U.S. adults aged 18 to 29 years old said that they regularly get news from TikTok. That is triple the number that did so in 2020. It is likely higher now, which compounds the poison of our “education” system.

Conservatives face the normal headwinds of censorship by progressive-run apps, and TikTok is as bad as any. I started an account in 2021 and in six months or so had 100,000 followers before it was banned. Mostly I got strikes in the vague and amorphous way of lefty apps by simply raising questions about Covid origins, the vaccine and election irregularities — never even claiming it was stolen. But such questions were not allowed by any social media at the time and I was mass reported over a few days.

This summer I went back on with another account as TikTok will let you start over again and again, and I now have 42,000 followers. I’m nobody by national name recognition, which I take to mean there is a hunger for decent, thoughtful conservative content on the app. I’m not a bomb-thrower and I see other thoughtful conservatives (as the algorithm sends them to me) on their fourth or fifth account. God bless them for fighting the good fight.

The federal government should ban TikTok on American soil as some state governments have done for state employees. Or, at the very least, it should require its sale to an American company — although if it is not Twitter/X, it will be just as censorious of non-state-approved thought. It just won’t be a metadata pipeline to the Chinese Communists, or at least not directly.

But until then, conservatives ceding the largest battlefield for young minds to the enemy is just self-defeating.

I encourage those who can create solid conservative content to give it a try and stick with it. But I’d also caution you to avoid using the app’s feed very much. It will capture and enslave you too easily.

Image: Title: Tik Tok conservatives