TikTok Video App actually exposes the teens to catcalls and harassment, and these loopholes will negatively effect the tomorrow’s young adults.
TikTok Video app designed by engineers and product designers, to amplify the content that meets their specific business goals. And their choices have ultimately unintended consequences.
At first glance, before filming anything, if you swipe through TikTok’s “for you” feed then you see, it’s a vertical string of “featured video clips” that you can only assume were recommended because they are performing well among the app’s teen user base.
One can see the videos in which young girls are dancing in her bedrooms. In one video, which I observed a girl dancing in her bedroom is tinted pink and Chris Brown’s verse on O.T. Genasis’ “CoCo” plays on the loop. He said, you picture perfect, let me come to centerfold you, alright. Then he came and bottom of user’s shirt is folded up, then baring her stomach. And after few seconds into the clip, she starts to rub her crotch, while lip-syncing the lyrics, “All my bitches got asses”.
TikTok Video App encourages users to say something nice, so in comment section, a few viewers have responded not with decent comment, but with the sexually suggestive comments, variations on a theme “rub that thing baby,” “let me rub it,” etc. Then after a few hours of uploading that video, the user has disabled the comments and also made her account private. This app gives the platform to teens to find new ways to express and also embarrass themselves online.
TikTok was best known app in the United States, until last month, as Chinese equivalent of Musical.ly that is a lip-syncing app that also burst onto the tween smartphone scene since 2014. It was developed in Shanghai, by the two Chinese entrepreneurs, and TikTok video app is one of the first Chinese-owned social media startups, to build a significantly larger user base outside the China. It has also grown into one of the world’s largest virtual stages for adolescent expression, as if “adolescent expression” is often a euphemism for the sexually suggestive dancing set to explicit lyrics.
In first four months of 2018, TikTok app was the most downloaded iPhone app and it had also received more downloads than Instagram, YouTube or Facebook. In TikTok video app, the underage girls may receive a disproportionate number of weird comments on it but alongside there are other forms of harassment on TikTok as well.
“On Instagram, you can have a public account, but your content probably won’t be put in front of people you don’t know as easily as on TikTok,” Christine Elgersma, of Common Sense Media, a parent-focused media watchdog, tells me.
One of the video in question, that What Kids Really Do on Musical.ly, is a comedic screed against oversexualization on TikTok app. PaymoneyWubby, who asks that I not use his real name, at one point in video, reacts to two different Musical.ly clips of underage boys, who are having sex with an invisible partner, on the floor. This is for kids? he asks, by staring at his computer in a disbelief.
Most of the user-base of TikTok is young. If look at the demographic breakdowns of the app usage following merger with Musical.ly, the DigiDay reported that 50% of Musical.ly’s user base was between the ages of 13 and 24, according to the data of earlier this year. And it’s a big question, what kind of content do today’s teens create? That is mindlessly repetitive memes and the makeup application contests. The Fortnite highlights and the comedy skits, makes the app feel almost exactly like the Vine, with built in background music. Most of videos were filmed in bedrooms and also featured just one person. TikTok feels more like an app, when someone is bored then use it, rather than a way of keeping up with friends or news etc.