2023 Undergraduate Research Showcase
Interacting with Transphobic Content on TikTok is a Gateway to Alt-Right Radicalization via the Algorithm
Dr. Jennifer Mallette
While the era of alt-right radicalization on YouTube is at an end, the phenomenon is reborn on TikTok; additionally, the platform’s short-form content expedites the time it takes for users to fall down the theoretical “rabbit-hole” that is alt-right radicalization. This study examines a Media Matters study whose primary focus was how Transphobia serves as a signal for the algorithm to serve users increasingly hateful ideologies, including but not limited to misogyny, antisemitism, homophobia, and racism. The paper also connects casual transphobic rhetoric in popular culture, namely political campaigns, and comedy as the primary source of the radicalization occurring on TikTok’s platform. This paper demonstrates how casual transphobic behaviors feed into rapid radicalization on social media platforms, namely TikTok. Currently, these platforms face no repercussions for serving radical content. The platforms are incentivized to maintain this radicalization because increasingly extreme content encourages users to spend more time on the platforms.
Northrop, Victoria, "Interacting with Transphobic Content on TikTok is a Gateway to Alt-Right Radicalization via the Algorithm" (2023). 2023 Undergraduate Research Showcase. 10.