Libs of Tiktok gets banned on Facebook (yay), then unbanned within a day (for fu*k’s sake)
Social media, while in many ways fabulous, can be a volatile and hostile environment, particularly if you’re openly LGBTQ+ or part of any marginalised community.
Earlier this month, a new report suggested that Meta (which is Facebook and Instagram) and Twitter are “enabling digital hate against LGBTQ+ communities and failing to act on 99% of the most-viewed anti-LGBTQ+ tweets”. Read more on those, frankly terrifying, findings by clicking here.
Far-right, anti-LGBTQ+ troll account ‘Libs of Tiktok’ this week (August 17) had its Facebook page “permanently” suspended. It didn’t last long.
Libs of TikTok is PERMANENTLY SUSPENDED from Facebook.
They are leading a violent campaign against childrens hospitals, interrupting service.
They are being called out by national media.
TWITTER MUST FOLLOW, or it will be complicit in what is to come. pic.twitter.com/4UZUKOqYvO
— Erin Reed (@ErinInTheMorn) August 18, 2022
Chaya Raichik, its curator, shared on the Libs of TikTok Twitter feed that Facebook “just suspended our account”, adding that there was “no reason given”, other than a notification saying the account did not follow Facebook’s “community standards.”
Shortly after, Raichik posted again to say she “immediately appealed” the suspension but was told the account was suspended for good.
Facebook has nuked LibsOfTikTok after their recent campaign against children’s hospitals that treat trans people.
LibsOfTikTok’s account, run by Chaya Raichik, says the deletion is “for good.” It’s not temporary. pic.twitter.com/9rYD8DzGD7
— Ben Collins (@oneunderscore__) August 18, 2022
Given the profile is such a
toxic dumping ground of hatred divisive page, it was soon trending on Twitter, where Raichik could still be active, and far-right social media users were fuming.
LGBTQ+ folk and supporters, along with Democrats and basically everyone who isn’t part of the MAGA squad, shared their relief at the news, hoping it was a sign of thing to come. That social media providers were FINALLY stepping in and taking action.
— Alejandra Caraballo (@Esqueer_) August 18, 2022
However, less than 24 hours hours after their “permanent” suspension, Meta appears to have cracked under pressure and reversed the ban, with the page posting like it never happened and more than half a dozen “news” items shared on Thursday alone.
At least half of the posts made after the failed “ban” targeted medical providers offering gender-affirming health care.
For background, ‘Libs of Tiktok‘ is an account which started on Tiktok (hence the name, now across all planforms), initially used to downplay the severity of COVID-19 and to promote the factually incorrect conspiracy theory that the 2020 United States presidential election was stolen from Donald Trump through election fraud.
The account, with the endorsement of numerous GOP/ MAGA public figures, continued to grow in followers, and subsequently spawned audiences across most social platforms.
Chaya Raichik, its creator, reposts social media content from people who conservatives would class as “liberals” – often teachers and particularly LGBTQ+ people – framed and/or contextualised in such a way as to ridicule queer folk and provoke anger from right-wing conservatives.
Typically the material posted is shared with a view to enrage Republicans and religious groups, often then inciting social media ‘pile-ons’, including torrents of online abuse and hate, towards those unsuspecting everyday people it targets.
Although a pre-existing connection to big-name US conservative politicians has already been established, Libs of TikTok has also become a major branding weapon in the GOP arsenal (along with TERFs, so-called ‘gender critical’ voices and transphobes in the UK and around the world).
Essentially, it is a way of repurposing content, a bit like with memes, but the punchline is making LGBTQ+ people appear insane/ ungodly/ predatory/ a million other negative adjectives.
Subsequently, LoT also appears to have, in part, inspired the “grooming” rhetoric among Republicans in relation to Florida’s crackdown on LGBT-inclusive education, such as the much-discussed ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill.
In 2021, in a since deleted tweet, Libs of Tiktok posted: “The Trevor Project is a grooming organization”, resulting in the charity – the world’s largest suicide prevention and crisis intervention service for LGBTQ+ young people – being on the receiving end of a lot of online abuse from the MAGA crowd.
Boston children’s hospital is getting death threats over Libs of TikTok’s targeted harassment over gender identity. Her response is inhuman. pic.twitter.com/CyfLi5AGVr
— Erin Reed (@ErinInTheMorn) August 18, 2022