Andrew Stiles (Free Beacon)
Washington Post journalist Taylor Lorenz, the country’s foremost expert on TikTok, has yet to comment on a bombshell Forbes report exposing the Chinese spyware app for enabling the “sexual exploitation” of children.
Last week, Forbes published the results of an extensive analysis of TikTok’s livestreaming service, which revealed some startling facts about Lorenz’s favorite app: “Viewers regularly use the comments to urge young girls to perform acts that appear to toe the line of child pornography—rewarding those who oblige with TikTok gifts, which can be redeemed for money, or off-platform payments to Venmo, PayPal or Cash App accounts that users list in their TikTok profiles.”
Leah Plunkett, an assistant dean at Harvard Law School who studies youth and media, described it as “the digital equivalent of going down the street to a strip club filled with 15-year-olds. … That is sexual exploitation. But that’s exactly what TikTok is doing here.” Forbes notes that the transactions are “happening in a public online forum open to viewers almost anywhere on the planet,” despite what the Chinese-owned company said was a zero-tolerance policy for attempted solicitation and sexual content.
Lorenz, whose pro-TikTok activism has been touted by Chinese propaganda outlets, does not appear to have been equally alarmed by the report. She has previously suggested that negative articles about TikTok were being planted as part of a nefarious public relations campaign funded by Facebook parent company Meta, the Chinese app’s largest competitor in the soul-destroying social media space.
Lorenz has not posted a single tweet about the Forbes article. Instead, the journalist who has described herself as “the most online reporter that you can find” has been making false accusations of harassment and asserting that wearing socks with sandals is both “comfortable and cool.” Lorenz’s latest report on TikTok for the Washington Post drew widespread condemnation for exposing the identity of a Twitter user who reposted publicly available content under the moniker “Libs of TikTok.” Lorenz and others accused the woman of committing harassment. The woman was immediately harassed after Lorenz revealed her identity.
Serious reporters, including several of Lorenz’s current and former colleagues at the Washington Post and New York Times, have suggested that Lorenz’s approach to journalism is obnoxiously self-righteous. For example, she was widely denounced as “cringey” for urging young journalists to “recognize the power of having their own brand.” Lorenz reportedly called one former Times colleague—respected journalist Maggie Haberman—a “bitch” for suggesting it was not okay to incessantly cover the social media activity of Claudia Conway, the 15-year-old daughter of then-White House adviser Kellyanne Conway.
Lorenz, whose exact age remains a subject of considerable controversy, is the author of the forthcoming book Extremely Online: Gen Z, the Rise of Influencers, and the Creation of a New American Dream. She is perhaps best known for attending a TikTok celeb’s 16th birthday party, as first reported by the Washington Free Beacon.