Posted today, Taylor Lorenz, a Washington Post journalist posted the identity of the notorious Twitter account: Libs of TikTok. This Twitter account, with a bio noting that its mission is to bring ” you news you won’t see anywhere else.” With over 700 thousand followers, the account influences the political sphere quite a bit, as commentators like Laura Ingraham have discussed the videos on her show. In her article, Lorenz unpacks the potential harm the account is causing by interviewing people who have faced the consequences of being featured on Libs of TikTok.
Now, after revealing the identity of Libs of TikTok, Lorenz is facing backlash from many online conservatives as they accuse her of potential doxxing by releasing the creator’s name. Many, including political streamer Hasan Piker, have said that revealing the creator, who has had quite the impact when it comes to conservative politics, is a necessary and appropriate part of journalism.
this woman is quite literally cutting propaganda for the republican party by blasting random queer teachers on the tl and trying to get them fired. unmasking her is journalism. making it seem like this is just some random twitter acc is odd. https://t.co/k39cdGzpFw
— hasanabi (@hasanthehun) April 19, 2022
Who is Libs of TikTok?
According to Lorenz’s article, Libs of TikTok began their account in March 2022 with a video that went viral shortly after and was featured on Laura Ingraham’s program. The content ranges, sometimes calling out mask mandates and other pandemic-related media, but mainly focuses on “exposing” LGBT TikToks. These are designed to create outrage, and as Lorenz says, they “quickly find their way to the most influential names in right-wing media.” As the creator continues to grow, many believe it has shaped the right-wing and could be responsible for the recent anti-LGBT legislation making its way in states like Texas and Florida.
Florida teacher is upset that teachers won’t be able to talk about their sexuality and claims simply saying the word gay can get you fired. pic.twitter.com/2Hf9CY9SDc
— Libs of Tik Tok (@libsoftiktok) April 18, 2022
Lorenz identified the creator as Chaya Raichik. Lorenz breaks down Raichik’s history online, and how she eventually gained her success on Twitter as Libs of TikTok, especially after gaining praise from podcaster Joe Rogan, who mentioned her several times. And now, her account is impacting legislation, as Desantis’ press secretary said that the account “opened her eyes” when it comes to the legislation that prohibits discussion of the LGBT community, often dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay” bill. With other hosts like Tucker Carlson and Jesse Waters using content from Libs of TikTok, it’s clear to see the connection between the Twitter account and the right-winged media. Although Raichick claimed it was unfair to release her identity, she has claimed that she does not do this fame or attention, and is not a high-profile politician or journalist.
The real story behind Libs of Tiktok is how easy it is to get half a million twitter followers in a year simply by tweeting fake right-wing outrage and driving harassment of minorities.
— Emily G (@EmilyGorcenski) April 19, 2022
From Lorenz’s article, it is easy to see how Raichik’s account has more influence than some want to admit, especially since politicians or political commentators reference her account. Her account has also gotten teachers fired, and many have faced harassment online. With that being said, Raichik’s cause and effect are obvious, which was many’s arguments as to why this was not an attempt to dox or threaten Libs of TikTok. Nicholas Dawes, the executive director of The City, explained on Twitter that “Serious people on here are arguing that a reporting out the networks and people behind a massive disinformation and propaganda complex is equivalent to “doxxing.” Lorenz even tweeted that Raichick “isn’t just some average woman with a social media account, she’s a powerful influencer operating a massively impactful right-wing media shaping the discourse around LGBTQ+ rights.”
Investigative journalism is still investigative journalism when its subjects are extremely online, and the same considerations of public interest and privacy apply, even if potential harms differ. This @TaylorLorenz piece more than meets the ethical bar. https://t.co/RvZMFcShKc
— Nicholas Dawes (@NicDawes) April 19, 2022
Others, however, accused Lorenz of causing potential harm to Raichick, some even claiming that if there was harm towards Raichick, Lorenz should be prosecuted. Many posed bad faith questions like “have your views on doxxing changed?” Raichick also accused Lorenz of “harassing” her relatives, but many noted that journalists are known to reach out in person, although uncomfortable for some, it is not guaranteed harassment.
— Libs of Tik Tok (@libsoftiktok) April 19, 2022
As of right now, Libs of TikTok and Taylor continue to trend on Twitter as people continue to read the article, which has reached audiences that might not have been aware of the impact the Twitter account created.