What’s behind the stark difference in searching “France” on TikTok vs Instagram

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TikTok may soon be made illegal in the US, but while you can still swipe away, I’d encourage you to examine an interesting phenomenon around France.  If you aren’t aware, millions upon millions of people have been protesting throughout France – mainly about raising the pension age. Riots, burning streets, garbage everywhere, and it’s hardly garnered any mainstream US press. You know where I’ve learned the most about it? TikTok.

Needless to say, searching on TikTok gives a potential tourist valuable information you aren’t seeing elsewhere.

Personally, I think the “France” phenomenon highlights what I believe is the driving motivation of the TikTok ban…information. Information that perhaps isn’t conducive to favorable viewpoints of those we’ve elected to serve us, and information that has been stymied elsewhere. Since the beginning of 2020, TikTok has been a source of a ton of information I’d never have been exposed to, it’s forced big Tech to reformulate algorithms, and shined a light on some dark corners otherwise kept neatly clandestine.

I’m not here to argue that TikTok is, or isn’t, collecting your data, or whom they are sending it to. I’d assume they absolutely are, but so is every other app, and so are all the 3 letter agencies of uncle sam. But, what I fear, is that TikTok is being scapegoated, adversarially pinned to geopolitical foes, in order to push through draconian legislation that yields unprecedented power to the executive branch via the Restrict Act.

If you haven’t read critiques of the Restrict Act, I’d urge you to do so. 

But…what about France? Here is a side by side of searching “France on TikTok vs Instagram”

This is a viral trend on TikTok right now, and it’s pretty crazy the difference. If you scroll down on TikTok it’s just one video after another about the protests, riots, on the ground video, etc. TikTok is the most downloaded, used app that concentrates on attention and it’s algo feeds a ton of what’s happening in France…so clearly it’s quite remarkable.

The contrast on Instagram.

If you search and scroll on Instagram it’s nothing, but posed, pretty insta pics and videos of the perfect Parisian, wine country, or coastal holiday. I swiped 10 times to refresh downfeed and not a single image or video on what’s happening appeared on Instagram.

What do you think is causing such a stark contrast in search results?


Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.

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  • Rodrigo April 19, 2023

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  • Hal April 18, 2023

    Also, TikTok and the CCP has an incentive to be like – democracy = bad and riots everywhere.

  • Brands April 18, 2023

    I was in Paris 2 weeks ago during one of the “strike days”, and guess what? We didn’t see a single protester. No trash in the streets. No disruptions via plane, train, or taxi. Yes, there are protests going on, but only in isolated areas. And I’m not sure what you exactly expect if you are getting your news from Tik Tok and Instagram. There has been plenty of information about the protests and decision to raise the retirement age over the past couple of months, if you haven’t seen it anywhere but Tik Tok, you’re not paying attention.

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