In the ongoing battle against the censorship of creators on TikTok, a number of Black users have recently begun to spread the word of a blackout on the platform, scheduled to take place on Dec. 8. This isn’t the first time creators have banded together to make a statement on the social media platform in order to bring awareness to an issue and it probably won’t be the last.
But this isn’t the only blackout being planned on TikTok, either. Jewish content creators have similarly called for a day of silence on Dec. 10, the first night of Hannukah. But how are the blackouts different?
Keep scrolling to find out everything you need to know.
What is the Black TikTok blackout about?
On Dec. 7, a number of influential Black social media accounts began posting messages to their fans about a blackout on TikTok, supposed to take place on Dec. 8.
The artist K. Creative asked followers, “If you haven’t heard, Dec. 8 is the TikTok blackout for Black creators. Too many Black artist / creators are silenced & shadow-banned on that platform. Tell me how many Black creators you know that go unrecognized & unacknowledged? Will you stand with us?”
With that announcement, K. Creative (@KCreative_) also pointed followers to the page of TikTok user Chelsea R’Kyrah Ortiz (@ChelseaRkyra), who explained the reason behind the call for the blackout.
In her video, Chelsea explained that she posted a video to her TikTok account of herself in a bikini, in an attempt to mock a trend of skinny girls trying to hijack a movement of body positivity meant for heavier girls.
Chelsea claims that her video was immediately removed by the platform for nudity, even though all the other girls she’s seen posting about the trend have also been in similarly cut swimsuits. That is, “every girl except for the Black girls.”
Chelsea goes on to explain she quickly realized that Black girls trying to participate in this body positivity trend were getting flagged for nudity, but when she posted yet another video explaining this, it was also flagged and removed for — you guessed it — nudity.
After posting multiple videos about these injustices and being repeatedly silenced by the app for other dubious reasons like hate speech, Chelsea decided enough was enough. She decided to make another video asking creators with larger platforms than her to stand with her during a day of silence from Black creators.
In a similar story, creator George Lee Jr. boosted the post of another smaller Black creator Itohan Abigail Akharoh (@baiakharoh), whose post calling out racial insensitivity was taken down. In her TikTok video, the young Black woman explains how she came across a video of two white women lip-synching to a song with the n-word. However, when she reported it to TikTok, the post was deemed inoffensive and allowed to stay up.
But when Itohan posted another reaction video of herself in response to the original post, her video was removed for hate speech even though she didn’t say one word in it, making it pretty obvious who was spewing the hate.
In response to Chelsea and Itohan's videos, a lot of Black content creators and curators are boycotting the app on Dec. 8, 2020, and asking others to stand with them.
What is the Jewish TikTok blackout about?
Meanwhile, Dec. 10 is currently scheduled to be Jewish Creators Day for Jewish TikTok users. But there’s a bit of confusion about that.
Apparently, it all started when some “goyim," or a non-Jew, announced that there would be a Jewish blackout on Nov. 9 to commemorate the anniversary of Kristallnacht, which was a program carried out against Jewish people in Nazi Germany in 1938.
However, many Jewish users thought the date was inappropriate and decided to move the blackout to Dec. 10, the first day of Hanukkah. Unfortunately, according to Jewish social media users, rampant anti-Semitism on TikTok has now led to Dec. 10 being co-opted as “Ignore Celebrities Day” after one user calling for it received five million views.
Jewish creators are still calling for users to boost Jewish content and boycott the app on Dec. 10, but, unfortunately, with the call to "ignore celebrities" on that day instead, some messaging has been lost. Perhaps, we could all just ignore celebrities any other day.