Universität Zürich

IKMZ - Department of Communication and Media Research

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Algorithmic (in)visibility tactics among immigrant TikTokers


Daniela Jaramillo-Dent

Mediální studia, 16(2), 215–235.

It is well established in scientific literature that immigrants are excluded from their own sto- ries, which are often instrumentalized to fulfill specific communicative, othering intentions. In this sense, migrant agency and voice are, in many cases, absent from narratives related to their life experiences and subject to various symbolic, digital, and material borders. More- over, although social media has been recognized as a prime space for self-representation across different segments of society, immigrants are often excluded from these spaces due to the risks that sharing certain information publicly represent to them. In this article I draw from a 16-month digital ethnography and inductive, multimodal content analysis of videos created by 53 Latin American immigrant tiktokers in the United States and Spain. This enables the conceptualization of their algorithmic (in)visibility practices which refer to the set of strategies deployed by immigrant content creators on social media —and possibly other marginalized and vulnerable populations— to negotiate the conspicuousness of their controversial content with the aim of avoiding its deletion from the platform. The findings unveil three exemplary algorithmic (in)visibility practices that include content reuse and re-upload, vernacular visibility, and partial deplatforming. I find that these strategies shift between collective and individual approaches to achieve selective visibility and concealed conspicuousness within algorithmic moderation systems.