The Dark Side of TikTok
By Keanu Lim
What is Tiktok?
You might know TikTok as an app where kids post videos of themselves dancing to songs and making funny jokes. While the creator, Zhang Yiming, definitely intended for it to be that way, his intentions would prove to be a lost cause, at least in the U.S. Tiktok, which was originally called musical.ly, was supposed to be “the next Vine.” In the beginning, it almost was, kids would post the usual funny content and cute dancing videos, but the content of future videos would prove to be harmful to its own app. The change of content was so damaging, that part of the Tiktok community wanted its own app banned.
Why would some of TikTok’s own community want its app to be banned? Well this is due to the apps controversy and toxic community. Tiktok isn’t the fun app where kids dance to songs and make funny, wholesome videos anymore. While viewers can still find many of those videos daily, it's evident that those videos aren’t the only type of content on this app. These days, many tiktoks are videos of people making fun of others on the app. Tik Tok Users use duets, which is a feature on the app that allows users to add their own part to other videos and post it on their own account. These types of videos can be targeted to anyone from LGBTQ+, cosplayers, and even people with mental and physical disabilities. These videos tend to be targeted towards the minority and the “not normal,” but they can actually go both ways. Many videos can be found making fun of straight people, white people, and anything someone doesn’t like about another person. Many people are bullied for their differences, such as their political opinion or even the type of clothes they wear.
Controversy Within the App
There have been many controversial events within TikTok, but the biggest one has to be the gender war. This “war” consisted of several videos of boys making fun of girls and vice versa. Boys would make videos calling girls a variety of names like dishwashers, sandwich makers, and other names referring to them as tools and objects. In return girls would call boys wallets toolboxes, and incels, inferring that they only use boys for money. While girls stopped making videos, boys on the app would continue bullying girls on the app. Many girls who came out as sexual assault victims were bullied by other boys. The boys would mock girls by recreating their videos and leaving terrible comments. As a result, many girls would delete their accounts or disable their comment section. Another controversial event was the banning of a TikTok user of the name Donelij. Donelij’s content consisted of him duetting other videos, only smiling and frowning. Donelij gained popularity and kept up the same content. The problem with his videos was that he would always frown when the person was gay or transgender. In return, his account with over two million followers was banned. Many people defend him by claiming he only made faces, others called him homophobic and transphobic.
What the App has Become
While people can still find funny wholesome videos on Tiktok, it's no longer like it once was before. Just like many places on the internet, there will always be haters and trolls. Unlike other apps, Tiktok is a breeding ground for these trolls, since most of the community is made up of teenagers. Discrimination against the lgbtq+ community and other groups does exist on other apps, but they pale in comparison to the Tiktok problem. Tiktok doesn’t only discriminate, kids are sexualized, people with mental disabilities are made fun of, and anyone who might be new to a hobby could even be bullied for it. In only a few months, the once friendly kids app has become one of the worst places for kids.