TikTok Algorithm and Racism are two interconnected issues that have been gaining attention in recent years. As one of the most popular social media platforms, TikTok’s algorithm plays a significant role in determining what content is seen by its users. However, this algorithm has been accused of perpetuating racism and discrimination, often unintentionally.
The American Corner Agbogba hosted an event on “TikTok and Algorithmic Racism”. The event aimed to educate students on the impact of algorithmic bias and discrimination on social media platforms, with a specific focus on TikTok.
The workshop was led by Jaylexia Clark , a PhD Candidate and 2022 – 2023 Fulbright recipient in the Department of Sociology. Her primary research interests are, structural racial and gender inequality, platform work and digital entrepreneurship. Co-leading with her was Kenya Lee, a doctoral candidate in sociology at University of Notre Dame. Her research specializes in race, ethnicity and schools. She is an alumna of The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
The event began with a discussion on social science, data, and social problems. Students were encouraged to define these terms and think about how they relate to the issues of bias and discrimination on social media platforms. This was followed by a group task where students were divided into groups and asked to focus on a particular social problem. The groups were asked to identify a plan that would address shadow-banning and bias in the algorithm, or cultural appropriation and credit/internet clout.
After working in groups, the students presented their case studies on TikTok, Snapchat, and Instagram. They shared their findings on how these platforms perpetuate bias and discrimination, and offered suggestions for how these issues could be addressed.
The students demonstrated a strong understanding of the issues of algorithmic bias and discrimination, and were able to apply this understanding to real-world social problems. The group task and case studies allowed students to think critically and creatively about these issues, and to come up with concrete solutions. The event provided a valuable opportunity for students to engage in meaningful discussion and reflection on the role of social media in perpetuating bias and discrimination. The American Corner plans to host similar events in the future to continue promoting digital literacy and creating a safe and inclusive online space for all.