„WarTok“ is a portmanteau of the word „War“ and the name of the social media short video app „TikTok“.
The term „WarTok“ describes the fact that personal, professional journalistic and state war reporting takes place via TikTok in the form of short videos.
What is „WarTok“? Meaning, definition, explanation
The Russian attack on Ukraine and the subsequent war caused an emergence and popularization of war coverage on TikTok, called WarTok.
The following participants report on the war from their perspective on TikTok:
- Government agencies and people in offices
- People who live in affected areas
- People who are active as influencers
WarTok content is of the following categories:
- Official government communications
- personal eyewitness accounts
- journalistic reports
- misinformation, fake news and propaganda
The content varies widely. People who live and reside in affected areas report from their daily lives. They share what they are experiencing. (For example, they share video footage of destroyed streets and buildings in the city they live in. They share video footage of the situation in supermarkets. They share video footage of their escape. They share video footage of crowded train stations. They share video of alarm sirens). They share their fears, worries and feelings.
State agencies are disseminating war propaganda and official messages, as well as holdout slogans. (Ukrainian President Volodymyr Selenskyj must be mentioned here. He publishes videos on TikTok, some of them very successful).
Journalists report on their observations. They explain and analyze.
Soldiers show their everyday life. They show themselves. They show how they have fun. They show destruction and war equipment.
People who are active as influencers spread helpful information to propaganda. They spread partly perseverance slogans. (These people can be called „warfluencer“ or „war influencer“.)
The people who spread content on social media as influencers about war partly educate. They provide information about technology, equipment, and strategy.
Troop sightings and soldier movements are shared on TikTok by a wide variety of people. (This is a problem because it allows warring parties to learn what their opponents are planning and how they are moving).
About WarTok: Meaning, definition, explanation
Editor’s Comment: WarTok enables war reporting that is emotional, honest, open, unique and fast. There are no limits. Everything may be reported. This is good, because a very comprehensive and multi-layered picture of war and the everyday life of war can be shown.
However, WarTok also has a problem: Some of the content is very emotional. There are masses of videos and new videos are published every hour. What is real and what is propaganda, disinformation or misinformation can only be guessed at first glance. Only by checking and then afterwards does it become clear what was fake and what was not. Therefore, caution should be exercised with war reporting on TikTok.
TikTok’s algorithm ensures that very popular videos are shown to many people. Since an algorithm can be manipulated, it is only necessary to send the right signals to spread information or propaganda, for example.
Since TikTok relies on strong emotionalization of its popular content, even more caution should be taken.
WarTok videos must also be criticized in themselves. In some cases, it is not clear whether the videos serve entertainment purposes or are really intended to disseminate information.
Other meaning of WarTok
The hashtag #WarkTok has now been used over 100 million times on TikTok.
A „Wartok“ is a creature from The World of Drakan.
„Wartok“ is a Klingon from Star Trek.