Media playback is not supported on this device Under-fire Labour MP Corbyn’s lukewarm support for TikTok video games – video
It’s politics as the tale of the tape: When you get your leader from the national public broadcasting authority you end up with a personal vendetta against him, an increasingly implausible social media campaign and a specious mini-Twitter war against Twitterers who don’t know who he is.
TikTok is by no means new to politics. The company behind it has become one of the most in-demand livestreaming platforms, riding the rise of social media and, at times, forging a close friendship with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. It also became subject to a concerted Labour attack from members of the parliamentary Labour party who criticised the company and said TikTok “influenced” Corbyn’s leadership on issues such as housing, labour issues and migration.
It all got so toxic, TikTok founders mentioned being physically pushed out of a Labour party conference in Manchester.We had a secret glance at Prime Minister Corbyn’s TikTok pics. It was Friday… pic.twitter.com/dKoXib7sVb — Connor Robinson (@Connor_Robinson_) March 9, 2017
TikTok has since denied any suggestion of political interference.
But it’s clear that TikTok isn’t a choreographed, scripted play by Shazza and Erika Newman, or co-working space Doghouse et al, of which you’d be forgiven for thinking it is, with its mission statement – “revolutionally change the way we meet, talk and engage with our digital community by democratising creative content creation, connecting people together to share and learn and sharing things they love”. But TikTok is a drama that depends on ambiguity – the drama exists within its unpredictability and confusion.
Politically themed games are an increasingly popular form of entertainment, but the risks involved with relying on culture as a vehicle for political activism have already drawn the attention of government departments.
The BBC’s production company Big Brother is considering the idea of using ordinary footage from the production of a newsroom drama to screen the political fallout from its own live coverage of the violent aftermath of Grenfell Tower’s fire.Annie Little (right) will co-host the live primetime talent show, being filmed on the day after Grenfell
It might be difficult for a corporation to be taken in by a major network drama, but when politicians go public they can seize control of the story. When broadcasters play a role in a political drama, it raises a public interest issue that cannot be avoided.
Presumably the considerations of safety are taken into account when a show presents this sensitive political content and network chairman Duncan Bannatyne has made it clear he will not send any of his stars to any states where such content might cause injury or deaths.
But cannot governments sit still and watch filmmakers bleeding their viewers out. There must be something else on the table.