Libs of Tiktok’s Chaya Raichik pretends to be a crusader for protecting children but her actions put children and their teachers in actual danger.
Libs of TikTok exists to cause harm. Run by Chaya Raichik, the various social media accounts under the brand features video clips sourced on social media of educators, librarians, and families of LGBTQ+ children. Raichik’s posts often ominously ask her followers how they feel about her targets being around children, or if said target should be trusted to care for children. She doesn’t tell her followers to harass her targets (and claims she doesn’t support threats) but doesn’t bother to hide identifying information either. She also solicits tips from her followers, making it easy for others to harass and incite violence against another person while also remaining completely anonymous.
What’s galling is that everyone knows why Libs of TikTok exists and the danger Raichik puts those she targets in with her posts. Last October, Vice’s Tess Owan reported that at least 11 schools or school districts featured on Libs of TikTok received bomb threats in the days after. This week, NBC News’s David Ingram reported that bomb threats were even more widespread and that at least 21 schools or districts have dealt with bomb threats. Both Vice and NBC News further reported on the intense harassment and violent threats that many of Raichik’s targets were forced to endure.
It’s worth noting that as of publication, the only platform that’s removed Libs of TikTok is TikTok. Libs of TikTok is allowed to run its harassment engine on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Substack, and YouTube. Apparently, your platform being used to direct bomb threats at schools where children attend isn’t a dealbreaker.
Raichik isn’t a parent herself, so she might not understand the pure terror of learning that your child’s school has received a bomb threat or that their teacher is experiencing death threats. She might not realize that most parents understand that bomb threats and death threats are a more immediate danger to children than how a teacher feels about LGBTQ+ rights or what the school librarian does during their off hours.
Or she doesn’t care. Because it isn’t about children, and it never was.
I can’t help but think about last month’s hearing on Big Tech and child safety in the Senate. The headline was that Mark Zuckerberg apologized to families at the hearing whose children were harmed by social media. Frankly, I was more than a little annoyed at all the news Zuckerberg’s apology generated. Because it’s just another apology for the pile, because I doubt the families will get anything in the way of meaningful reform from Congress, and because the person who asked the question, Senator Josh Hawley, almost certainly wasn’t acting in good faith but looking for a viral moment.
Hawley, a Republican, follows Libs of TikTok on Twitter. Somehow, I can’t imagine him demanding that Chaya Raichik or any MAGA influencer who incites threats and violence online apologize to the families in schools that Libs of TikTok has targeted. Nor can I foresee a day when Hawley apologizes to the families of trans children, victims of school shootings, etc. MAGA Republicans and influencers love to pretend they care about protecting children. However, speaking as a parent who actively fears my kids’ school dealing with bomb threats, shootings, and teachers targeted with harassment, I have a hard time believing this movement or anyone involved in it views children as anything other than political props and cannon fodder.
To borrow a popular Libs of TikTok catchphrase, would you feel comfortable entrusting your child with these people?
The Coming Flood of Disinformation (Foreign Affairs)
An honest but disheartening read on the state of countering disinformation from Nina Jankowicz. Jankowicz and fellow researchers continue to be targeted by bad actors, and it remains distressing how quickly the powers that be caved when the mob came for her.
I like how this commentary includes historical context and actionable suggestions. Bonus points for elevating the critical role that Black media plays in bolstering good information.
U.S. Youth Attitudes on Guns Report (PERIL, SPLC, and Everytown for Gun Safety)
Perhaps the most comprehensive report to date on youth attitudes toward guns. Given the role that gun culture plays in the US MAGA movement, I found this to be a really helpful and informative read.
Honestly, I didn’t have LinkedIn emerging as one of the hottest Twitter alternatives on my social media bingo card, but I’ve really enjoyed the conversations over there. It’s been a lot of fun to post content, while also explaining why my work matters to folks in their professional lives. Follow me on LinkedIn here.
That’s a wrap on this week. Happy SwiftBowl day to all who celebrate. I'm looking forward to seeing Usher perform. It’ll be a nice pregame for the real show: the moment when George Soros personally walks Taylor onto the field to endorse Joe Biden at the game’s conclusion.
Let’s do this again next Sunday!