The Ugly Truth About TikTok, Screen Taps and the Rise of Dirty Content
Tiktok was founded in late 2016 in Mainland China as Douyin before it was launched to the outside world in 2017. Since then, the social media platform has seen relatively higher growth rates in terms of engagements by its users.
Today, the site enjoys approximately 1 billion active users monthly. It also enjoys the pact of being in position number one as the most engaging social media platform with a session length of about 10 minutes. This is almost two times more compared to the second-ranked social media app, Pinterest, with an average session of about 5 minutes.
Whereas adults had been looking at TikTok with scorn earlier on, many of them have realized that the site holds a lot of potential as a marketing tool. In 2023, the social media platform topped the lists of avenues organizations intended to invest more in terms of marketing costs for their products and brands. The same trend is projected to hold for 2024.
This means that TikTok has great positive potential towards organizational and individual growth if its benefits are harnessed well. As organizations market their brands, individual influencers will gain income in addition to others showcasing their talents and skills for possible tapping.
Despite these positive facts about gains that can be made by using TikTok effectively, there has been the ugly side of the narrative. Concerns have been raised regarding TikTok’s contribution towards mental health issues and the propagation of explicit content.
TikTok Screen Taps and Dirty Content
I can attest to the dirty content since I have observed that, as an individual. Let me use Kenya and Nigeria as my two case studies. A keen maneuver using my TikTok account, I have seen several late-night ‘shows’ by some young and fairly old women exposing nudity at the expense of taping screens and receiving gifts in the two countries. The same could be true for other countries which I did not check.
Some people are using the platform to solicit money in exchange for sending explicit ‘content’ to men and women as an excuse for earning a living. Others hold discussions which are very dirty in a bid to win followers and likes. Others still are doing sexually provocative stuff and dancing as the fastest way of increasing their follower base too.
It is worth noting that some individuals are using this platform responsibly to showcase their talent and skills. The site is also used for propagating good propaganda, but the dirty content seems to be obscuring all the good things that TikTok can be used to do. And the move by the Kenyan government to regulate this night-dirty content can attest to the level people have plunged into to gain popularity.
The funniest thing is that even mature older men and women have become part of the crop of people making this dirty content. And there seems to be little policy regulation by TikTok itself over this content to necessitate governments impose their policy. I don’t want to blame TikTok that much though.
Mental health issues
The eventual effect of such content and the fact that TikTok’s AI systems are spot on with suggesting content related to what somebody spends more time watching means making more and more people slaves of this content.
Someone might be thinking that the choice of what one consumes on social media is solely their choice, yet I am left to refute such claims based on personal responsibility regarding what content we create and its subsequent impact on the consumer.
I know of a lot of young people who have been trying to create their purpose and meaning based on acceptance using social media ratings through likes and followings and have ended up being disappointed when their expectations were not met. Some finally end up plunging themselves into psychological turmoil, stress and depression.
That is besides the other individuals who bully and abuse these young people trying to showcase genuine talent responsibly by labelling them as not good enough at what they are trying to do. They are hurt and made fun of and unless one has great psychological strength, they end up in a mental health institution.
And worst of it all, it is these young people who have lost it all by being slaves to the dirty and sexual content being brandished online middle, left, right and centre. Through such stuff, we are making a society of sexual predators and propagating crimes as a result of the unethical use of social media.
People don’t have to create dirty content to be followed and liked on TikTok or any other social media. When we create the right content that is ethically sound or properly showcases our skills and talents, it doesn’t matter the length of time, if it was meant for us to make it on such platforms, we eventually do.
And there is no harm in doing our best the right way and not receiving social media liking and approval. It should be made known to us that the following and liking don’t define who we are, sometimes they add more baggage to us. We are left to try and maintain the artificial image we create even when we cannot, which is more harmful.
Let us promote the ethical use of social media by all means.