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TikTok promotes engineering and maths in China, while making youth in other countries addicted to twerking and porn

TikTok influencers have become so important in the US now that at the beginning of the Russia-Ukraine war, US President Joe Biden invited TikTok influencers to the White House and sought their support to push the US agenda online.

TikTok, a short-form video hosting service owned by Chinese company ByteDance, is one of the most popular apps across the world. It allows the users to publish short videos on their platform. A lot of content creators have become ‘social media stars’ through this app. However, there is a dark side of this app that, instead of being talked about extensively, gets ignored most of the time.

Fox News journalist and anchor Tucker Carlson recently talked about the content that is being promoted by the app’s algorithm in homeland China and compared it to the content in western countries. Carlson explained how the content differs at an extensive level and shows completely different genres to the users based on the location. It is a well-known fact that TikTok is quite famous for videos that do not make any sense most of the time.

Moreover, there is a lot of content that promotes problematic content, such as twerking, gender-altering therapies, and even teaching children how to hide their “gender identity” from their parents. A report in Daily Mail in December 2021 alleged that TikTok was promoting gender change surgery as something “cool” among the children, and by the time that report was published, such videos were being watched over 26 billion times.

The report talked about a deal signed between TikTok and Stonewall, the controversial lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights charity, to promote such content. Several TikTokers raised funds to change their gender and made it look like something cool that others should try too, and these videos were heavily promoted.

There is a Twitter user who goes by the name of LibsOfTikTok. She regularly shares videos from TikTok of alleged teachers and adults sharing their views about being trans or non-binary or telling the world about their weird pronouns such as “fish”. The flood of such content on TikTok, an immensely popular social media platform among the youth, is a serious problem that needs to be addressed at the earliest.

In January this year, a report in Answers in Genesis talked about how TikTok was enciting youth to identify as transgender.

TikTok in China is different

TikTok runs by the name of Douyin in China. It is owned by the same Chinese company ByteDance. Compared to the content that the users in the West see on TikTok, what it promotes in China is completely on the other side of the spectrum. It is noteworthy that there is a policy in Place in China where government-regulated content can be shown on any platform, and any other content cannot get any desired promotions by the platform.

Keeping that in mind, the majority of the content that Douyin promotes in China is related to technology, architecture, music and similar interests that increase the creativity in the users and help improve their skill set. As no such policy is in place in other countries, TikTok promotes content that can go viral quickly and generates revenue for the company. Also, there are some theories that are often discussed on Reddit that China is intentionally using inappropriate content generated in the West to “corrupt the minds” of the young generation.

‘TikTok is making you dumb’

During a podcast, comedian Andrew Schulz discussed the TikTok algorithm. He talked about how the algorithm promotes useless content in the West but shows extremely useful content in China. He said China does not want applications created by other countries to influence their future generation. Schulz raised the point that the app rewards people in China for creating useful content, for example on architecture, science, or maths. However, in other countries, it promotes content like stupid dances etc.

In a podcast, Crowder and Crew discussed how TikTok was making people dumb. They mentioned different studies that proved that TikTok could manipulate user behaviour and has the potential to take over the user content on any device by bypassing the privacy policies and terms set by Google and Apple.

How does the app influence users?

The basic idea behind TikTok is to promote content that can go viral in an instant and push content creators to create similar content. When TikTok was not banned in India, it was common to see content creators creating similar content if one video of the idea went viral. Generally, it is not possible to go viral by uploading a copied idea. However, it was different on TikTok. Those who uploaded copied ideas of a viral video got their video reaching millions of users quickly.

The more such videos went viral, the more content creators saw it as an easy opportunity to gain traction on the platform. Once users started creating similar content, TikTok started promoting content that they wanted to propagate in a particular area. For example, if they wanted the children of the US to get gender-altering surgery on a mass scale, they would promote content that would promote it as a cool, modern, easy and rewarding step to take. Shockingly, it is happening in the US, and no sane parent has been able to control the menace.

In fact, TikTok influencers have become so important in the US now that at the beginning of the Russia-Ukraine war, US President Joe Biden invited TikTok influencers to the White House and sought their support to push the US agenda online.

From selling a useless product, to changing voting patterns, a platform like TikTok is capable of doing a lot of damage unless the governments come up with a strict policy to counter TikTok’s algorithm.

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Anurag
Anurag
B.Sc. Multimedia, a journalist by profession.

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