Bellingcat Releases a New Tool to Analyse TikTok Hashtags
TikTok’s role during the invasion of Ukraine has changed the common misconception of a website predominantly used by its young users to post videos of lip-synced songs or dance challenges. During Russia’s military buildup, users posted videos of military equipment being transported to the Ukrainian border. Since that equipment crossed that border, numerous TikToks have shown missiles, destroyed buildings or the daily life of Ukrainians who have to spend their days in shelters, leading some commenters to even call this a “TikTok war”.
In our previous guide detailing “how to investigate TikTok like a pro”, we introduced and detailed various search options that can help find relevant information on the app.
Nevertheless, it’s still tricky to monitor specific topics on TikTok over a longer period of time. Compared to those of other social media platforms, TikTok’s API (Application Programming Interface) presents more obstacles to developers. It can change frequently, making it harder for developers to use and harder for researchers to draw wider insights from trends as they develop over weeks and months.
Bellingcat’s Investigative Tech Team has therefore created the Bellingcat TikTok Analysis Tool (built on the basis of a TikTok scraper offered by Github user drawrowfly) that allows researchers to collect a dataset of TikToks associated with specific hashtags over lengthier periods. The tool also allows researchers to analyse what other topics appear together with selected hashtags most frequently.
About Gary Price
Gary Price (email@example.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. He earned his MLIS degree from Wayne State University in Detroit. Price has won several awards including the SLA Innovations in Technology Award and Alumnus of the Year from the Wayne St. University Library and Information Science Program. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com.