Open Access Journal

ISSN: 2183-2463

Article | Open Access

Social Media and Otherness: The Case of #Islamterrorism on TikTok

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Abstract:  Social media and their participatory characteristics promote the construction of meanings that differ from those emitted by mainstream media outlets, becoming a tool that enables a reconfiguration of the dominant discourses. TikTok offers unique possibilities to confront the neoliberal imaginary and open a space for debate, incorporating political viewpoints and establishing itself as a new communication scenario. Regarding news about jihadism, many researchers have observed that those who practice Islam are classified as a monolithic entity, and this entire religious group is generalized as a threat to modern societies. The main objective of our research is thus to know the discourses used on TikTok to respond to the binomial Islam = terrorism spread by mainstream media and the affordances of this platform used to challenge this misconception. Using the snowball method, a multimodal analysis was conducted by identifying TikTok videos with the hashtags #yihadista, #yihad, and #islamterrorismo (in its English and Spanish versions) to explore the uses of the TikTok platform. The resulting selection criteria included: (a) content related to mainstream media discourses on jihadism, (b) discussion of a topic related to Islam and terrorism, and (c) where the content creator declares him/herself to be a Muslim. In addition, in-depth interviews were conducted to provide an enhanced understanding of how the media promote the need to generate a counter-narrative on TikTok. The results reveal that discourses from Muslims that combat Islam = terrorism discourses are constructed within the spiral of the dominant narrative, thus visualizing the negative discourses about Islam.

Keywords:  Islam; media; prosumers; religion; social media; TikTok



© Sabina Civila, Mónica Bonilla-del-Rio, Ignacio Aguaded. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (, which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.