TikTok has been a prevalent app for social media users for a while now, and has recently experienced a major boom as people have suddenly found themselves with more free time in their schedules due to the coronavirus pandemic. However, is the need for likes causing users to forget that their actions can have long-lasting repercussions?
Owned by the Chinese company, ByteDance, the company was founded in 2012 by Zhang Yiming. The app was released in China in 2016. It is similar to other apps like Musical.ly and Vine, in the sense that it started out with a lot of dancing videos, but now has people making their own content – whether that be sketch comedy, makeup videos, or a litany of other options.
When was the last time you’ve read the terms of service for an app? With TikTok you may want to read them. By signing up for the app, you are agreeing to the terms as defined by the creators which is, in their eyes, binding. Any content creators post can be taken by the parent company or any third party companies they allow, and used without notifying the person that made the video.
While many are drawn to the humorous 60 second videos on the app, there are a handful of people using their platform to negatively influence others.
Many trends are being set daily and while some are harmless, with that always comes the negative ones. One viral weight loss trend got products recalled after negative repercussions. Metabolism drops by Rae Wellness, intended for adults, were being used by teenagers and young adults, with tags like “lets get skinny.”
The company pulled products from shelves, voluntarily, after there was a surge of minors misusing the product, originally intended for people over 18, trying to lose weight quickly. The drops are now discontinued.
Others are using TikTok and posting content that is widely unaccepted, whether that be racist or overtly sexual videos.
Georgia couple, Stephanie Freeman and Jeffrey Hume, who were seniors in high school at the time, posted a racist TikTok, and it went viral. The video was highly offensive and has inspired significant backlash. As a result, administrators at TikTok removed the video. The video has been re-shared to Twitter and have received over nine million views. Hume and Freeman have since been expelled from their high school. The colleges they planned on attending were made aware of the video and are no longer offering admittance to them.
With everyone’s information easily accessible with the click of a mouse, we need to realize what we post on the internet can have real life impacts.
Due to people being stuck at home because of COVID-19, TikTok has become increasingly popular, trapping users in the mindless scrolling of the “For You Page.” However, this can negatively impact viewers’ self image. Causing many young teens to compare themselves to the people on the app that are “famous.” The need for likes causes people to do dangerous things to achieve them.
While the app is fun to use, the best thing we can do as a consumer is realize that people are putting their “best self” on the internet. Just because it looks like someone is living a perfect life doesn’t mean they truly are.