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Tiktok’s Unsavoury Revenue: Religious Disrespect and Free Speech

Exploiting Religious Disrespect for Profit?

Controversy and confusion looms as the social media titan, Tiktok, engages in a dangerous game of balance between caring for free speech and upholding community standards. In fact, controversy stirs in Stockholm, as live Koran burnings take center stage on Tiktok, generating both views and income. The enterprise, however, remains mute on the issue of responsibility.

Instant Infamy and Self-Profit

Salwan Momika and Salwan Najem found notoriety this summer by burning Korans in Stockholm, broadcasting the gesture on Tiktok nearly every single day. There, they also share other videos that critique Islam, drawing millions of views and thereby raking in up to SEK 3,000 per display. These sums are collected from audience ‘gifts’ that are then converted into real-world currency. Interestingly though, the company also gains from this ill-managed spectacle. Tiktok pockets half of the gift’s value, thus employing this disreputable behavior of desecrating religious texts to its financial advantage.

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Is Tiktok Evading Responsiblity?

The company’s silence raises serious concerns over their stance on this issue. Approached by a reporter from TT, Tiktok simply chimed a “We decline to participate in an interview, but thank you for your question!”. The response by Parisa Khosravi, Tiktok’s Head of Communications, tells us nothing about the company’s level of responsibility or if the harrowing live Koran burnings violate the platform’s own policy.

Koran Burning and Tiktok’s Moral Dilemma

Mårten Schultz, a revered law professor and founder of the Institute for Law and the Internet, sheds light on Tiktok’s position. He explains that large social media entities, like Tiktok, often try to distance themselves from legal responsibility for content. However, he adds that these platforms usually establish reasonable guidelines about what can be shared, although they aren’t always adhered to in practice.

Schultz points out that Tiktok’s business model is built on engaging content and high viewer traffic which drive ad revenue. However, highly controversial content, while initially engaging, can stifle this momentum by scaring users away. In essence, Tiktok needs to balance viewer thrill and user sentiment carefully. Schultz postulates that these platforms bear a moral responsibility for published content. Cases like Facebook’s delayed removal of the live stream of a shooting in New Zealand underpin this.

Bottom Line

While technological challenges exist for platforms like Tiktok to screen and moderate billions of hours of content, moral responsibility cannot be completely shelved. Despite the lure of monetary gain and user engagement, it’s equally important to consider the repercussion of allowing, and profiting from, provocative content like live Koran burnings. Therein lies a thorny, albeit critical, challenge for Tiktok: achieving a balance between user engagement and responsible content moderation. After all, the repercussions from this reckless pursuit of profit, especially considering the grand scale and influence of Tiktok, are too grave to ignore.

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