A peek into the topics buzzing at Cassandra

Politics, politics, politics. In a not-at-all-planned turn of events, this week serves as a perfect tease for our next report on Global Gen Z, this time on the topic of Gen Z and Politics! Talk about serendipity —or the fact that the world is burning, so we have to talk about it, whatever you prefer. Culture moves fast, and we at Cassandra try to move even faster to keep up with all the relevant topics Gen Z can't stop talking about online. This week we're discussing the Congressional Hearings on TikTok, Florida's book bannings, and the ongoing battle between Ron DeSantis and Disney—all this and more in today's edition of viral news. And be on the lookout for our new report, The Paradox of Global Gen Z Politics next week.

Image of the US Congress logo "vs" the TikTok logo


In a rather embarrassing demonstration of what some called very limited knowledge of the platform, Congress representatives began the hearings on TikTok and the dangers the platform allegedly represents for national security. When questioning the company's CEO, Shou Zi Chew, the legislators didn't present any evidence against TikTok's safety and privacy faults. Instead, they spent 5 hours asking questions that showed how little some of them understood how technology —even something as simple as WiFi— works. Or at least, that was the general online consensus. While the hearings were being live-streamed, the tag #TikTokHearing started tracking some activity and has reached over 44 million views between recaps and mockery.

Images of various book covers that have been banned


The shockingly rapid expansion of book banning at public schools and public libraries across the nation in the past year or two and the relentless effort to crush access to education and diverse storytelling is being met with the same fervor in opposition to these measures. The pushback to these acts of censorship has been led by authors and young people that cannot fathom a world where a small group of individuals limits access to diverse, inclusive, and racially conscious literature. From pop-up free libraries to programs that allow digital access to banned titles, Gen Zs —and much, much older generations— are doing everything they can to keep access to information available, even going directly to speak to their representatives. Currently, #bannedbooks has over 89 million views, including a popular clip of Gen Z's favorite congresswoman AOC. This conversation is just beginning!

Image of the Disney World Castle with the statues of Walt Disney and Micky Mouse in front


The neverending war between Florida's Governor, Ron DeSantis, and The Walt Disney Company is taking another turn after the governor's mandate that stripped the company from its autonomy within the premises of its resort was signed. This measure was seen as retaliation after Disney publicly opposed the "Don't Say Gay" bill that prohibits discussing sexual orientation or gender identity in classrooms before the fourth grade. Now, in response, Mickey Mouse's company will defy the conservative governor by hosting one of the most prominent LGBTQ+ summits on gay rights in the country. So it's no surprise that TikTok has A LOT to say, either informing about it or commenting on how DeSantis is so wrong that they're doing the inconceivable: siding with big corporation.