October – 2023 Anthony Bender

The Dark History and Quality of TikTok

The year is 2016, in September. A new app known as Musically (now known as Tiktok), was released. This app has since exploded in its popularity, and is now one of the most well-known and used apps, reaching fourth place among other popular apps for most monthly users at one billion users. 

If you have never used the app before, TikTok is one of the most well-known apps for reels and other forms of short videos. It also is filled with live streams where creators can receive donations for their entertainment, and the app even has monetization for adult creators. This app may seem like a life-changing social media network at first, but if you look a little deeper into this software, you will find that it has its dark secrets.

TikTok’s feature of monetization has its simple requirements. 1: you must have ten thousand authentic followers. 2: you must have one hundred thousand views within the past thirty days. 3: depending on where you live, you need to be at least eighteen years of age.

All of this seems relatively easy, but there is a catch. Although many content creators have made a good amount of money, some have not been so lucky. @onlyjayus is a TikTok content creator, who voiced their concerns in a video where they talked about TikTok monetization. They stated in a video on her second account that they has felt that her videos where being suppressed, and they had made a total of around 6 dollars over the course of six months. Their videos typically get a few million views, and with uploading, they had only made roughly a dollar a month.

Now, you might be thinking that TikTok is holding money from these creators, but what may come as a surprise to you is that TikTok has a famous trend going around called “NPC livestreaming.” In the livestream, a person is to act like an NPC from a videogame, and thank viewers for any donations. In an interview with one of these live streamers, she claims to make roughly ten thousand dollars a day in livestream donations. For reference, that is roughly six times the amount that the president of the United States makes. Now, the reason TikTok can afford this is because they are not the ones making donations, the viewers are. 

Not to mention that these live streamers are not really doing anything even slightly entertaining. They are only sitting in front of a camera saying thank you for the donations that they are receiving, not making any sort of “entertainment.”

Madison Tripp is a senior at Neshannock high school, who has taken part in many clubs such as Forensics, Bible Club, etc. She has been using TikTok to display her cosplay of different characters, and has roughly 154,000 followers on the app, under the username of @madzscosplay, along with 2.3 million likes. As you can see, she has not been struggling with video suppressment. She does however dislike the app. In a video, she talked about her distaste for the website. Madison stated that people didn’t have to do very much to get famous on the app and that she hated the app. Off camera, she has also claimed that she is really well known for only one cosplay on the app, not multiple. As a result, she received backlash whenever she tried to make a new costume. She also has claimed that she sees how TikTok has demoralized the topic of mental health and illnesses. She finds it sickening, and she struggles to stay on the app for more than fifteen minutes a day. Since then, she still uploads on TikTok , but has also shifted over to YouTube, and begun her journey there. You can find her YouTube channel under the username “MadzIsCringe.”

TikTok has also reported to have been suppressing videos that include people that are fat, ugly, disabled, or members of the LGBTQIA2S+ community. They have been using segregation against people for simple identity groups and disabilities. I feel that this discrimination is taking a step back in our world, which includes hatred and judgment. 

Even though TikTok has apologized for their actions in the past, they still suppress video, comments, and other content on the app. Roughly 65% of all videos are suppressed. It is not fair that people who have put their efforts into this platform, just to receive nothing in return. Some people are lucky, while other are left at the short end of the stick. I think that TikTok needs to change their way of operation and algorithm, to give a fair content creation environment for everyone.

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