Posted on Oct 12, 2022
TikTok appears to have banned searches for “white lives matter.” The phrase is widely considered to be a racist response to the modern movement for racial equality embodied by the rallying cry “Black Lives Matter.”
The timing of the move suggests it could be linked to uproar over Kanye West invoking the phrase. Last week, West, now known as Ye, shocked observers by wearing a shirt that said “white lives matter” during the show for his clothing line at Paris Fashion Week. Far-right pundit Candace Owens appeared alongside him wearing a similar shirt.
Wearing the “white lives matter” slogan made Ye into a pariah to some—but greatly pleased others, including Tucker Carlson, who reacted by inviting Ye on his show.
Far-right figures were particularly thrilled to see a Black man in a shirt that said “white lives matter.”
White nationalist Nick Fuentes forwarded a post that said, “‘anti-white racism’ and ‘white lives matter’ are now mainstream. This is an unambiguous win.”
The white supremacist VDARE was similarly thrilled, referring to Ye as “an unlikely ally to the Historic American Nation” and “one of the most sane entertainers in Hollywood today.”
TikTok seems to have reacted to the sudden influx of posts including “white lives matter” by suppressing searches for the phrase.
Searches for “white lives matter” and #whitelivesmatter on the platform on Wednesday returned no results and a message that reads, “This phrase may be associated with hateful behavior. TikTok is committed to keeping our community safe and working to prevent the spread of hate.”
TikTok didn’t respond to an email seeking comment Wednesday morning.
Right-wing extremist outlets and figures are enraged that they can’t search for white lives matter on TikTok anymore.
Far-right YouTuber Paul Joseph Watson, a protégé of Alex Jones, wrote a piece calling TikTok the “most censorious” social media platform in existence and complaining it believes “white lives don’t matter.”
As of Wednesday morning, searches for “wlm” and #wlm still returned results on TikTok. Many, though not all, were posts blasting Ye for both wearing the shirt and his subsequent antisemitic tweets and comments made during his interview with Tucker Carlson.
Claire Goforth is a staff writer at the Daily Dot covering all things politics and technology with a focus on the far right and conspiracy theories.
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