The Dark Side of TikTok

With over one billion users, TikTok, one of the most popular video-sharing social networking platforms, took the internet by storm over the past year. It is a platform where people all over the world can upload fifteen second to one minute videos and connect with others. Aalong with the many benefits of TikTok, users should be aware of the potential dangers and risks that they take by using the app. From online predators and sharing a little bit too much information about their personal lives, young people especially, should know how to safely use TikTok. As some people may or may not know, TikTok was previously known as Musical.ly until ByteDance merged Musical.ly into TikTok in 2018. Like Musical.ly, there is a small group of people, commonly known as ‘influencers’, on TikTok who make daily content and receive up to millions of likes on their videos. The majority of these influencers are teenagers.

The Community

TikTok star, Charli D’Amelio

One of the most prominent influencers on TikTok is Charli D’Amelio, a fifteen-year-old girl from Connecticut. Because of her rapid increase in fame, she has to do online learning in order to contribute much of her time towards making videos for TikTok and make space for other things. Although she has been able to travel to many places and has made appearances at fashion and talk shows, she experiences a variety of things that a girl her age should never have to deal with. As she was starting to become well known in late 2019, many people would make videos reacting to the content she posted and make comments on everything about her. They would comment on her appearance and the clothes she was wearing.

On numerous occasions, Charli has gone to Twitter to write about many comments and videos that are made about her. Because they are so familiar with ‘hate’ comments, Charli and her sister, Dixie, recently partnered up with Unicef for their anti-bullying campaign to openly talk about the online bullying they endure almost everyday.

Charli and, sister, Dixie D’Amelio on online bullying Source: Unicef

There aren’t just single influencers on the app, there are also groups of influencers. People who are familiar with TikTok will know groups like the Hype House, who Charli and Dixie are part of, and the Sway House. These groups have accounts on TikTok and other social media platforms and many of them live together because of the groups. However, some groups, especially the Hype House, have gotten into some trouble being involved in many controversies with other people on TikTok.

The Content

“[Some] people who come across…content criticize [the creator’s] physical appearance for the way they act in their videos and attack them for simply being who they are.”

There are many different kinds of videos that users can make on the app: lip-syncing, dance, art, comedy, news, lifestyle, etc. Many of these users on the app make content in order to unleash their creativity and share it with others for them to enjoy. However, there is also tons of content that should not be uploaded onto the app.

A group of young influencers Source: Forbes

The media has always favored and idolized a youthful look. When casting actors in a movie or hiring models to photoshoot, this has always been the case and the same goes for TikTok. Young impressionable teenagers make up the majority of well-known influencers on the app. Because they choose to be influencers on TikTok inherently makes them subject to comments from their audience. Many people who come across their content constantly criticize their physical appearance or the way they act in their videos which have caused some videos to be taken down due to the overwhelming amount of “hate”. “Hate” comments can be very hurtful to people, especially on younger people, because many people usually take it personally when others attack them for simply being who they are.

All in all, TikTok is a great app for people of all ages to upload creative content for others to enjoy, however, users should be aware of the potential dangers of using TikTok.

Author: Natacia Roach

Natacia is currently a sophomore, and this is her first year as a reporter for The Eye. She is from the U.S. and Malaysia, but has lived in Singapore for almost 13 years. When Natacia isn't stressing about homework she forgot to do, she can be found watching food videos and old barbie movies (usually Barbie and the Magic of Pegasus). Even though she takes naps five times a day, she can be contacted at roach49367@sas.edu.sg

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