Those concerned about two of the biggest media influences on children today — Disney and TikTok — can now make like the fast-consolidating entertainment industry and bundle their dismay.
Far outdoing Microsoft, which has just gobbled up video game behemoth Activision Blizzard, TikTok has inked a pathbreaking new multipronged deal with Disney, formalizing an arrangement that grants the House of Mouse privileged prominence on the attention-devouring, China-born video app.
Driven in significant part by advertisers’ lust for ad space on TikTok that is “brand safe,” the “first-of-its-kind” deal
gives Disney “a dedicated destination within the video app where Disney fans can watch videos from Disney’s brands, create their own with Disney’s music and special effects, play Disney-themed trivia, and collect ‘Character Cards’ of their favorite players.”
Disney remarked on its decision to work with TikTok — an app still facing government scrutiny and lawsuits over its ties to China and addictive nature — noting it had to do with TikTok’s reach …
The Disney activation on TikTok will be extensive, encompassing 48 Disney account handles who will participate for a four-week period across 24 regions around the world starting on October 16. This will include Disney brands highlighting content from Disney, Pixar, Star Wars, Marvel, ESPN, National Geographic, Disney Parks and more.
Those Disney-run TikTok accounts have a total of over 150 million followers, but that number may grow with this event as TikTok notes fans should “expect daily reminders” of why they connected with “favorite Disney characters, franchises, movies and Disney memories.” This may also prompt users to create more Disney-related content on the platform.
While Disney, TikTok, and the companies’ defenders have insisted against mounting evidence that their core values place children’s well-being first, American parents are increasingly apt to see the mega-corps as more concerned with the safety of brands than the safety of children.
After a bruising political season that saw Disney have to backpedal on its aggressively queer-forward programming and principles, the TikTok partnership reflects
Disney’s further difficulty in independently navigating the complexities and challenges of the digital audience space.
For its own part, TikTok has struggled to convince U.S. lawmakers and constituents that they should trust the app with the content its algorithms deliver to young users, especially when it comes to sexuality and gender.
In that sense, the new deal likely reflects a hope on the part of both partners that, together, they can placate critics and appeal to American youth markets at the same time.
But the current blowback from extreme woke evangelism in American education and entertainment has prompted woke institutions to lean more into trying to sanitize and normalize youth gender fluidity and sexuality than into refocusing on issues of race and class — an unprofitable option as Black Lives Matter and the Democratic Socialists of America continue their fall from grace in the wake of the Hamas attacks on Israel.
For Disney and TikTok, the result is likely an increase in parental and advocate skepticism about the companies’ attitudes and aims toward children and teens. It’s hard to see how the new partnership will encourage parents and guardians to leave their kids alone with either brand, much less both in a single experience accessible at all hours, seven days a week.