By Garett Sloane

Girls Who Code brought its sisterhood to TikTok, just in time for the International Day of the Girl Child.

What better place to spread a message about digital equality of the sexes than an app that has the attention of millions of young girls? TikTok, the catchy video app owned by Chinese-based ByteDance, has an audience that is 60 percent female and 69 percent of users are between 13 and 24 years old, according to internal marketing documents from the company.

Deborah Singer, chief marketing officer at Girls Who Code, says the organization encouraged girls around the world and their supporters to share videos to TikTok with the hashtag “march for sisterhood.” Now, almost 700 million video views later, by TikTok’s calculation, “we were just kind of blown away by the success,” Singer says.

Girls Who Code made use of TikTok’s viral-inducing hashtag challenges, which marketers are familiar with since they can sponsor their own hashtags, starting at $150,000. Girls Who Code’s campaign was coordinated with TikTok for Good, the philanthropic arm of the app, so it did not cost the group money. What happened was TikTok promoted “#MarchForSisterhood” on its homepage the weekend leading up to Oct. 11, the Day of the Girl. Then the TikTok community took over from there, sharing videos using the hashtag.

“We saw videos of everyone, from a computer science major in Utah talking about the need for solidarity, to a sorority in Alabama, which did a march kind of on their way to a tailgate,” Singer says.

Singer was a little skeptical, though, seeing the number of videos with the hashtag top 250,000, generating more than half a billion views, she says. Once a hashtag is presented to the masses, anyone can use it, and often TikTok teens jam all the popular hashtags on their videos to ride the trend. It can be hard to tell how many of the videos are aligned with any given cause or brand message.

Singer says, for the most part, the videos adhered to the message of girl power, while staying true to the general lightheartedness of TikTok. “The whole team started going really deep and looking at all of the videos,” Singer says. “And there were a range of them. There were people excited by the hashtag and kind of doing their own thing and there were people super-aligned with the cause.”

Politics as unusual

TikTok has begun to face scrutiny as its popularity rises in the U.S., however. At the same time that the app was promoting solidarity with women and LGBTQ communities stateside, it was being criticized for censoring marchers in Hong Kong, who are fighting oppression against China.

Also, in the U.S. it recently worked with GLAAD, the LGBTQ advocacy group, to promote the “this is me” hashtag for “coming out day” this month, a day for people to express their sexual identities. Just weeks before promoting the inclusive message, The Guardian reported that TikTok had allowed countries with anti-LGBTQ policies, like Turkey, to block videos that promoted homosexuality. …read more

Via:: Ad Age B to B