“The suspension of TikTok alone is not enough to stem a fundamental problem” | EUROtoday

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VSFaced for a number of days with a resurgence of protests and violence in New Caledonia, the French authorities has carried out a risk already formulated through the riots of summer season 2023: the suspension of TikTok. Many level to social networks as the primary culprits for the renewed discontent and violence.

In gentle of the latest resolution of the American Congress to vote on the doable ban of TikTok [si le réseau social refusait de couper ses liens avec sa maison mère, ByteDance, et plus largement avec la Chine], the Chinese software seems to be a really perfect offender. However, a deeper evaluation of the hyperlink between social media and anti-democratic sentiment reveals a extra complicated actuality.

Indeed, a examine that I co-wrote in collaboration with Bruce Bimber, Daniel Gomez, Ilia Nikiforov and Karolina Koc-Michalska, revealed within the scientific journal The International Journal of Press/Politics, doesn’t assist the concept that TikTok contributes considerably to the rejection of elites and establishments, and even to conspiracy. In addition to platforms linked to the “fachosphere”, similar to Gab, Rumble or Truth Social, our examine exhibits that it’s the platforms selling robust hyperlinks between customers, similar to Facebook, Snapchat and WhatsApp, which contribute probably the most to rejection of elites and establishments, in addition to conspiracy beliefs.

Read additionally | Article reserved for our subscribers The blocking of TikTok in New Caledonia, a primary in France which raises questions in a rule of regulation

However, it has not been demonstrated that platforms similar to X (previously Twitter), Instagram, Threads and even TikTok, which promote interactions between people who usually don’t meet in actual life, are accountable. of the rejection – generally violent – ​​of our establishments.

A fertile floor

The state of affairs in New Caledonia may be partly defined by this dynamic. Discontent with the 2021 independence referendum, perceived as illegitimate on account of low turnout and the Covid-19 pandemic, has discovered fertile floor on platforms like Facebook or WhatsApp. These areas enable customers to mutually reinforce their grievances and cheerfully disseminate extremist and conspiratorial concepts.

Also learn the column | Article reserved for our subscribers “The restriction of TikTok in New Caledonia cannot be described as necessary or proportionate”

Mark Zuckerberg's platform additionally suffers from one other structural vulnerability facilitating each the propagation of concepts corrosive to democracy and the coordination of violent actions: the chance for customers to hitch curiosity teams political or ideological character. This performance permits any disgruntled consumer to hitch forces with their friends to domesticate generally decidedly anti-democratic concepts and, presumably, coordinate acts of violence. While it’s doable that TikTok may additionally have contributed to the coordination of violent actions, it’s not clear that TikTok, in itself, represents an even bigger downside than different platforms.

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