TikTok's the New Facebook


May 7 , 2022
By Kidist Yidnekachew ( Kidist Yidnekachew has degrees in psychology and journalism and communications. She can be reached at kidyyidnekachew@gmail.com. )


In this time and age, where everyone seems to claim to know about politics and even dares to judge others in charge, it is hard not to get political. It is hard not to say something, at least to voice one's concern.

It is not easy to raise the national discourse without addressing that social media is a double-edged sword. If not used properly, it could take the lives of many. A while ago, the whole social media sphere was flooded with racial slurs and hateful comments. Facebook, the platform with the largest number of users, was intolerable. I left it as a result.

The only social media I was on was TikTok, which was as entertaining as it was educational. I stuck around. But TikTok is no longer a safe place. It is now filled with unfiltered and brimming hate and anger.

Pretty much every post that comes through the 'for your page' FYP algorithm has lately been people disparaging religious institutions and the faith of others. It scares me to the core. I feel like what has happened so far is only the tip of the iceberg. And if something is not done about it, it will only escalate. Like most people, I want a peaceful country. The way things are heading, this is no longer to be taken for granted despite the majority wanting stability to reign. Hatred is the source of all destruction. If we hate, then we want to destroy without remorse.

One responsible party for the chaos is extremists who are willing to sacrifice the rest for their own good. Too much of anything is not good; this also applies to the beliefs of groups and individuals. It must be easier to focus on the few negatives instead of on long-built positive relationships and ways of life because many of us are uninhibited these days. We are letting our emotions get the best of us. Others are just waiting in silence. Many are confused about what they can do to help alleviate the problems.

I used to get annoyed when I came across insults and degrading comments regarding a certain group, and I would try to push against such views by replying to whoever made them. The horrible comments usually come from a username without a number or profile picture, but then my comment begets another negative comment even if it was not an insult or some saying it was none of my business. But we should all say it concerns us as long as it is about our country. We should make it our business because we are talking about a sensitive issue that can potentially destroy us. It does not matter which faith I am following; it is my duty to try to see things objectively with calmness.

At some point, though, I got tired of responding to every individual who sometimes intentionally comments that way because they are prejudiced to the core. So, whenever I come across such hateful comments, I single out one or a few among the hundreds of comments and report them as hate speech hoping TikTok will remove or take these comments down. If we all could do the same, we would at least minimise the comments and make social media worthwhile. Better yet, we will also be able to protect others from being subjected to hatred and negativity.

We all have experienced fake news before, cherry-picking statements or photoshopped images to fit a particular narrative. In time, I thought such things had subsided, but it is back again. These days, what is being photoshopped are slogans instead of people. Changing a message printed on a piece of paper a person is holding makes the whole message twisted. Extremists are making it look like groups and individuals are being targeted on a social scale, thereby spreading hatred, anger and insecurity. People’s lives will be lost because of this if we are not careful.

Imagine how many people fall for the photoshopped slogan and how long it would take to shed light on the falsification?

Let us not be hasty to point fingers at each other but give each other the benefit of the doubt. This does not mean we should be naïve or simply accept everything we are told. But let us keep our hearts open as much as we do our eyes. It takes a village to build peace but a few extremists to wreck it.



PUBLISHED ON May 07,2022 [ VOL 23 , NO 1149]



Kidist Yidnekachew has degrees in psychology and journalism and communications. She can be reached at kidyyidnekachew@gmail.com.





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