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