"It's Viral!" – A study of the behaviors, practices, and motivations of TikTok Social Activists

by   Daniel Le Compte, et al.

Social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter are used for social activism purposes, and TikTok is no different. We conducted 9 qualitative semi-structured interviews with social activists who recently posted their videos on TikTok to understand. This study presents an initial look into why TikTok is used by social activists, and what processes they use to carry out this work. The interviews revealed the following main patterns: (1) content creation practices are typical and expected, (2) motivation and inspiration for posting social activist content comes from a wide range of personal sources, (3) social activism has communities on TikTok that provides encouragement and discussion, (4) engagement and interaction with other activists and viewers is a crucial part of content creation as well as social activism, and (5) the main driving force behind picking TikTok over other platforms is the ability to spread messages much farther with less effort. These findings provide insight into the unique factors that TikTok brings for social activists and corroborates previous findings in understanding how social activists use social media for their purposes.


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