Updated: Oct 4, 2022
A few important things to keep in mind regarding the recent hype about Jewish music on TikTok:
1. Tiktok is a chinese trojan horse which governments are now characterizing as a threat to democracy everywhere. The communist Chinese government is part owner of and at a minimum has influence via its loyalist employees according to recent testimony of the CEO of TikTok US during a recent senate inquiry. The company thus has influence or perhaps even control over the algorithms which impact what citizens see. So, even though the information may legitimately claim to be "protected" in the U.S., its accessibility by the TikTok offices in China is unknown at best.
2. Humans, especially when lonely, crave honor. Tiktok exploited this early in the game well before covid by giving an apparent instantaneous fame well. beyond the other social media platforms of the day. This created word of mouth virility and an explosion of downloads in a very short period of time. No one to my knowledge is auditing the accuracy of the actual viewership and the fact Meta and Twitter have been forced to admit to taking down billions of fake accounts annually would lead only a fool would think that the actual view count is anything close to real or accurate. For example, the view counter ramp up to 100K views over a few days as a standard method of injecting dopamine into the user and creating an even more addictive platform than the usual suspects. Countless millions fell prey to the free download. It remains crazy to think that some unknown 5 year old or 25 year old could rack up 1 million actual views in 2019, 2020, or 2021 so quickly at random. That same fake instant celebrity went told all his friends about his new fame and so the viral downloading app continues and everyone ignores the warning on the app saying it's literally from the Communist Chinese Party. Children of members of congress or state department employees and even the members themselves may have the app on their phones giving access to cameras and microphones as well as feeding them information often for hours each day.
3. Lawmakers in the U.S. and Israel are now actively discussing the balance between free speech, an important corner stone of democracy, and the protection of national security interests. TikTok is at the center of that discussion because of the increased tensions between the US, China and Russia and other totalitarian regimes which are able to control state media and thus are tremendously advantaged in this digital international war of influence. Last week, Israeli news website Ynet reported that Kobi Shabtai, Israel's head of police, as saying that during May 2021 while thousands of rockets launched by evil in Gaza with intent to kill Israeli Jews, Arabs and Christian civilians it was TikTok that played a strong role instigating the rare attacks on Jews by their once friendly Arab neighbors in mixed cities in Central Israel such as Lod. Imagine how easy it would be for companies such as Meta, Twitter and TikTok to turn up the heat of polarization in any community anywhere in the world. On the other hand, this same technology could be used to create a healthier global community that fosters more tolerance and understanding of one's community out groups. Or to slowly indoctrinate a generation into a political or economic ideology. The applications are endless. Historically, such coercive power has never been in the palm of their hands, neither the governments nor the people.
4. It is interesting that as Tiktok has grown to a behemoth company on the scale of Meta (Facebook/Instagram/Whatsapp) giving these U.S. based global companies a run for their money and now suddenly we find U.S lawmakers taking the spotlight off of Meta and Twitter and Alphabet's Google and instead they are cracking down on Tiktok. Free speech, a corner stone of democratic way of life is in the spotlight as another election cycle is heats up. It will be interesting to see how lawmakers respond to adverse foreign governments ability to reach their citizens directly.
5. A decades old video of a Jewish music group was recently published in much of the Jewish press as having gone viral on TikTok. This hype undoubtedly increased awareness of the app among religiously oriented niche interest groups such as Jewish Israelis. Although it is unclear if the boost of virility of this old school Jewish music group occurred before or after the comments of the Israeli chief of Police who named TikTok as instigator of civil unrest, one thing is clear. Just identifying a Trojan horse may not be enough to keep adversaries out of the minds and hearts of the populace. On the other hand, anything more than that could lead to a different slippery slope which could empower states to play an even stronger role in the future of media and information control.