TikTok teens trump Trump: A modern-day rebellion

Aug. 7, 2020, 8:17 p.m.

TikTok. A popular app for dance trends, a vehicle for teenage mutiny and according to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, a rumored data-stealing program from China. TikTok is especially popular with my generation — the “zoomers” or the Gen Zers of the world — because of its short, funny videos that fit in perfectly with our stressful schedules and short attention spans. In the past month, many left-leaning teens, including myself, have used the app to wage a virtual war on President Trump and his efforts for reelection this November. Although I initially downloaded the app for the memes, I now find it to be a useful resource for remote activism. From ensuring an empty stadium at a presidential rally to plotting to remove the Official Trump 2020 App from the App Store to infiltrating Republican voter surveys, we TikTok teens are absolutely relentless in our efforts to put President Trump in his place.

As the Black Lives Matter movement gains traction on social media, many teens on TikTok are learning some shocking information that is often omitted from our history textbooks, such as the details of the Tulsa Race Massacre. Despite being considered the worst incident of racial violence in American history by the Oklahoma Historical Society, millions of Americans had not heard about it until a viral TikTok began trending on our feed. To say that I was shocked upon learning about the Tulsa Race Massacre would be an understatement; this TikTok taught me that the oppressors write the history records, and for that reason, our standard curriculum does not show us the full story of racism in America.  

Thus, when President Trump announced that his first presidential rally since quarantine would be in Tulsa, Oklahoma on Juneteenth, many people from the Black community considered this event to be a slap in the face, especially after Trump’s hurtful and violent tweets regarding the George Floyd protests — most notably writing, “…These THUGS are dishonoring the memory of George Floyd,” and stating “when the looting starts, the shooting starts.” In response, an outcry erupted on all social media platforms and petitions circulated, forcing President Trump to cancel his rally. Unfortunately, all he did was move the event to June 20 while keeping the venue of the rally as Tulsa. 

Infuriated, teens on TikTok banded together and figured out a way to boycott and disrupt the rally without even attending: our goal was to book all the tickets before Trump supporters could, so that when none of the TikTok-ers showed up, President Trump would be left embarrassed in front of an almost empty stadium. Together, we managed to book 1 million tickets for a stadium that could seat 19,000. I happened to book eight tickets myself, which required registering from 4 different emails. According to the fire department, only 6,200 people were in attendance, leaving the stadium more than two-thirds empty. President Trump was stunned, and TikTok teens pulled the ultimate prank that made headlines the next day. This was the first moment that I realized how powerful our voices can be and how influential a role social media can play in activism. President Trump is planning to hold another rally in Portsmouth, New Hampshire in a couple of weeks, and TikTok teens have already rallied together to try to recreate our success with the Tulsa rally. 

After seeing what the masses could accomplish, my generation set a new goal in sabotaging President Trump’s campaigning efforts: getting the Official Trump 2020 App removed from the App Store. The App Store has a rule that if any app has a 1 star rating or below, it will no longer be available for download. Teens spammed the app with 1 star ratings and brought its overall rating down to 1.3 stars with over 272,000 ratings, as of July 19. This effort is still ongoing, but if you want a good laugh, I suggest reading the reviews on the app before it gets taken down for good. 

Quite possibly my favorite effort, however, is the circulation of presidential surveys, intended to be filled out solely by Trump supporters, all over TikTok. These incredibly biased surveys ask questions like the following, which was pulled directly from Donald Trump’s website: “Who do you trust more to protect America from foreign and domestic threats? President Trump or A Corrupt Democrat.” By sharing the link to these petitions, an influx of responses from this survey came in from teens on TikTok who answered these questions in the exact opposite way than what President Trump’s campaign team had intended. As an active participant in this effort, I enjoyed a good laugh reading the ridiculous questions the survey asked. Most importantly, I love the ingenuity of infiltrating surveys. Just by choosing every anti-Trump answer, we managed to block the President from using biased percentages in his campaign speeches and propaganda.

I cannot wait to continue participating in this ongoing battle between the President of the United States of America and American high schoolers with TikTok accounts. With the birth of TikTok activism, a strong youth community has formed on the app, dedicated to spreading information and gaining popular support for progressive causes. As the influence of TikTok grows, and as teenagers continue to learn the power of social media, who knows where this social revolution will go? 

Contact Anika Jain at anikajain ‘at’ sfhs.com.

Anika Jain is a high school student writing as part of The Daily’s Summer Journalism Workshop.

Login or create an account

Apply to The Daily’s High School Summer Program

deadline EXTENDED TO april 28!