‘Libs of TikTok’ popularity soars after Washington Post expose

A popular conservative Twitter account has gained even more influence since being targeted in a Washington Post tell-all.

Libs of TikTok became a cause celebre after Post reporter Taylor Lorenz disclosed the name, employer and religion of the anonymous creator in an April 19 expose, warning readers that the account was “secretly fueling the right’s outrage machine” and become “a powerful force on the Internet.”

While Ms. Lorenz has since been excoriated on the right and accused of doxing the account’s owner, the result was the kind of publicity money can’t buy.

Libs of TikTok hit 1 million followers on Tuesday, a one-week increase of more than 50%. The creator also launched a Substack newsletter that now boasts thousands of followers.

The woman behind Libs of TikTok showed her appreciation with a little tongue-in-cheek trolling this week.

“So grateful to @TaylorLorenz and WaPo for helping me achieve this huge milestone! Is there an address I can send a thank you card?” she tweeted.

The surge in followers came at a cost. After the Post article appeared last week, Libs of TikTok’s creator said she went into hiding, telling Fox’s Tucker Carlson in an audio interview that “I had to make some travel plans really fast.”

“I’m now in a place where I don’t think anyone would find me, not any of the locations that Taylor Lorenz leaked or that anyone can find,” she said in the segment. “It’s been a little bit tough but I’m not going to let this get me down.”

Mr. Carlson accused the Post of “an intimidation campaign designed to shut down a highly effective Twitter feed.”

The episode triggered a battle between Team Libs and Team Lorenz as the upstart conservative media takes on the liberal legacy establishment over journalism ethics, internet privacy and double standards.

Two Libs of TikTok supporters, podcaster Tim Pool and Daily Wire CEO Jeremy Boreing, fueled the uproar Tuesday by sponsoring a digital billboard in New York City’s Times Square criticizing Ms. Lorenz.

“Hey, Wapo, democracy dies in darkness. That’s why we’re shining a light on you. Taylor Lorenz Doxxed @LibsofTikTok,” the billboard said.

Ms. Lorenz swung back by charging her critics with endangering her friends and family.

“My family and friends are not happy. They have been subject to a non stop stream of hateful attacks, doxxing, and violent attacks driven by this baseless campaign,” she tweeted.

Conservatives accused her of hypocrisy, given her Libs of TikTok expose and that just last month, Ms. Lorenz complained in an emotional interview on MSNBC about online harassment.

In Ms. Lorenz’s corner was Kara Alaimo, Hofstra University associate professor, who said in an NBC News op-ed that the Post article engaged in “accountability” not “doxing.”

The Post article and subsequent reports in other media outlets have identified Libs of TikTok’s creator as Chaya Raichik, which she has not disputed.

“There’s no justifiable reason to protect the identity of someone like Raichik on social media so she can spread this kind of intolerance with impunity,” said Ms. Alaimo in the April 21 op-ed.

Libs of TikTok made its name by reposting videos, typically without her own commentary, of left-tilting individuals espousing their views, often on the TikTok app, and quickly became a favorite on the right while drawing the ire of the left.

The leftist group Media Matters for America took up the anti-Libs mantle earlier this month, blasting the account in six press releases from April 1-18, starting with “Fox News is using the ‘Libs of TikTok’ Twitter account like a wire service for anti-LGBTQ attacks.”

Ms. Lorenz called the account a “political force,” adding that “for all we knew, this could have been a foreign actor, right, or someone – we just didn’t know.”

“This is an influential media force. The idea this woman is not newsworthy is quite nonsense, you know what I mean?” Ms. Lorenz said Sunday on CNN’s “Reliable Sources.”

“I cover influencers for a living and I’m telling you, this woman is more influential than a lot of people that I cover,” she said.

She also denied doxing her, saying that “doxing means revealing highly, highly personal, nonpublic information with the goal of harassment or sort of destroying someone’s life.

“We absolutely did not reveal any personal information about this woman at all, remotely,” said Ms. Lorenz. “I know that sometimes reporting practices can seem foreign to people that aren’t familiar with journalism, but this was very by-the-book and very benign.”

Cameron Barr, Post senior managing editor, defended the story by saying that Libs of TikTok “has had significant impact on public discourse and her identity had become public knowledge on social media. We did not publish or link to any details about her personal life.”

Critics are calling that Post claim deceptive.

They point out that the original Post story included a link to the woman’s Realtor profile, which included her real-estate license number, her employer, and the employer’s address. The link was later removed without explanation.

“LIES. They included a link with personal information which they later removed because they knew what they were doing was abhorrent,” tweeted Libs of TikTok.

After the billboard went up, Ms. Lorenz called it “idiotic,” but added that “these campaigns have a much darker and more violent side.”
“I’m grateful to be at a newsroom that recognizes these bad faith, politically motivated attacks and has a strong security team,” she said.

She also accused the billboard sponsors of trying to “discredit my reporting on Libs of TikTok,” which Mr. Pool disputed, saying he was “not discrediting your reporting.”

“I’m calling you out for lying when you and WaPo denied linking to private details/You published Libs’ private address/just own it,” he tweeted.

The Post article also said the woman on a previous social-media account “claimed to be proudly Orthodox Jewish.”

That detail that drew pushback from Jewish News Syndicate editor-in-chief Jonathan Tobin, who said highlighting the woman’s faith “carries with it a touch of anti-Semitic incitement.”

“That Raichik’s account has earned a large following and been featured by conservative media is not in doubt,” Mr. Tobin wrote. “Still, the notion that a shadowy religious Jew is pulling the strings behind people in power is a classic anti-Semitic trope.”

Jewish Telegraphic Agency senior editor Andrew Silow-Carroll called the disclosure of her Jewish identity “fair game,” given the “Orthodox connection between faith and right-wing politics.”

Ms. Lorenz also accused Libs of TikTok of “targeting LGBTQ folks.”

She cited former Oklahoma middle-school teacher Tyler Wrynn, who reportedly resigned earlier this month after his video was posted on Libs of TikTok and went viral.

In the video, Mr. Wrynn says, “Hey, if your parents don’t love and accept you for who you are this Christmas, f*** them. I’m your parents now, I’m proud of you. Drink some water. I love you.”

As far as critics were concerned, the teacher deserved to be called out for such a statement no matter what his sexual orientation or gender identity.

The Post article was sympathetic to his plight, saying he been “barraged with harassment and death threats.” But the article did not mention the “f*** them. I’m your parents now” quote.

Libs of TikTok told the Daily Wire that she has received about two dozen threats, but that she doesn’t plan to back down.

“I’m going to continue exposing them,” she said in the April 22 interview. “I’m going to continue posting them. It’s going to be the same, just now people know my name.”

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