I disagree. I don't think the bulk of discussion about 'cancel culture' is about mob mentality and virtue signalling. I think it is about the way a society is bound to behave when the minorities are gaining power and the people with the power note that previous strategic tactics to keep that heavy foot on the necks of marginalized peoples aren't working any longer.
Marginalized people are routinely cancelled--and have been for centuries--by the majority, in part based on the way humans behave subconsciously: most people tend to drift towards similar others. As a result, when those margins have a true minority percentage at a collective level, they lack true power. To many minorities, this describes the last few centuries. For example, in my family 4 generations can vouch for white supremacy on 3 different continents. For all these generations, our mouths have been shut by the majority's heavy foot.
When those margins grow in terms of absolute percentage, as a collective, they feel power---for once. For once, those margins are FINALLY allowed to speak. For the same reason, this poses a greater threat to the equilibrium of that collective status quo, who has thus far managed to control minorities with their 'laws' and rules, often if not always specifically written to favor themselves at the expense of others and which are established to protect their economic investment and unearned advantage. See, for example, the aggressive stance conservatives have on immigration; this conveys that they know they cannot handle the competition, that immigrants will in high likelihood perform at higher levels and therefore must be kept out. (Only one example).
Of course, once those minorities--who have lived and still live with the heavy foot of oppression on their necks--FINALLY feel that they are able to speak due to an increase in numbers, they DO. Minorities have been holding it in a lifetime--plus for generations, in a lot of cases--and have heard about this, often, from previous generations who have also passed that on. FINALLY, the minority is thinking, after not only my life of keeping my mouth shut but also my mother's, my grandmother's etc etc--FINALLY, I CAN SPEAK.
The status quo doesn't like that, because to them it is an illustration of the way in which their dominance might be challenged. They LIKE minorities to stay quiet because it keeps them in a position of power efficiently: it requires no effort on their part. Now, they have to shut those minorities up with effort. That effort, often just a show of established power, results in a rebuttal by the minority, which should be expected in an EQUAL society. I note that the status quo deals with this EQUALITY by whining about 'cancellation' when, in fact, they just heard the rebuttal they should have gotten LONG, LONG ago. For example, JK Rowling's distorted view of transgendered people should have been called out long, long ago. Exposing this particular form of prejudice — which she is proud to display publicly — isn't 'cancellation,' it is a description of her prejudice. This fact is especially alarming when considering that her books will be read by young people; who knows how much of her internalized transphobia is subtly or otherwise conveyed? In other words, her discriminatory tendencies are her problem and should be exposed. She negotiates this strategically when she calls it ‘cancellation’ by implying she’s the victim. But most marginalized people are used to gaslighting and know this is tactical bait ‘n switch. She can’t handle equality, and this is her weakness: it should be exposed. Claiming she’s been 'cancelled' is a form of strategic power mongering; it frames her as a victim, not the perpetrator of transphobia which is the fact in this matter.
In general, feeling this challenge to their dominance, the status quo (generally) call it 'cancel culture' when in fact, their long-standing dominance and its deep-seated institutionalization is being called out, FINALLY.
Most 'cancel culture' participants are fundamentally libertarian, although there are exceptional ones that don't fit in this category. They are not often found on the 'lefty' side of the spectrum, though there are occasional exceptions. This matters because these are the very people who call for maintaining power for its own sake rather than for allowing true equality.
The connection between whining over 'cancel culture' and whining over NOT having as much power as before--because others are FINALLY allowed to speak up--is a connection that should be exposed repeatedly. Again, it is not a coincidence that most of the people using the term 'cancel culture' seriously are seriously privileged and are using this STRATEGIC tactic to continue to tell POCs and other minorities to shut up. Just like before, so that they can continue to impede the forward motion we've started to make. FINALLY.