The downside of TikTok

A problematic media platform

The downside of TikTok

By Max Ferrandino, Collegian Contributor

TikTok, one of the most popular apps in the world, is the most downloaded app on the Apple store with more than 1.5 billion total downloads. Essentially, up to 20 percentof the world’s population has downloaded the app, making it one of the largest social media apps that exists today – and it shows no signs of slowing down.

I have spent a staggering amount of time on the app myself. For example, I spent 12 hours last week procrastinating on TikTok, the most-used app on my phone. That’s triple the time that I spend on the next closest app. It is very easy to be addicted to TikTok and the implications are clear. TikTok is a platform that promotes people who, despite possible talent, do not necessarily need to have such a large following and creates an unrepresentative amalgamation of beauty standards.

Chase Hudson is one of TikTok’s major influencers, according to Famous Birthdays. He is the sixth-most popular star and is currently dating Charli D’Amelio, the most popular person on TikTok. Hudson goes by the name “Lil’ Huddy” on all of his social media platforms and is one of the founders of the Hype House, a collaborative space for popular creators to make TikToks in Los Angeles, California.

Hudson got in trouble for a leaked video where he said the N-word in 2019. Later, he released an insincere-sounding apology. But his power did not end after that incident: in fact, he got a lot more famous since that event, earning more than 15 million followers on the app.

It seems if a video was taken of him saying something racist, it probably has actually happened more than one time. This can be guessed through the fact that the house is predominantly white, and Hudson could see himself as less likely to get pushback for racist comments by a group that has not been directly affected by any overt racism.

Hudson also happens to hold major power as one of the founders of the Hype House. A New York Times articlestated he “acts as Hype House’s unofficial talent scout and a behind-the-scenes operator.” Hudson has the power to control who gets invited into the Hype House and make themselves famous.

TikTok stars like the members of Hype House also conform to a similar standard of beauty that promotes a single collection of people getting fame and power. For those people who meet that standard, fame and fortune rains down upon them, but people who fail to meet that shallow standard are left out and are not promoted. TikTok is a very powerful tool to promote your brand, so many prominent users who meet those physical standards modeling jobs from their fame. Hudson and the entirety of the Hype House are getting a contract from WME, one of the world’s largest modeling agencies.

More proof of how much fame and power that TikTok can get you is Charli D’Amelio, the largest TikToker on the app. She recently did a promotional campaign with Prada when she attended the Milan Fashion week. She an example of how the fame and power that can come from TikTok can also generate power outside of the app.

I see TikTok as a negative force in today’s world as it promotes a standard of sameness that has influenced people to look like everyone else. That leads to the creation of a conformist society and TikTok promotes people like Hudson who is a physical representation of the reinforcement of privilege and how power comes from putting down others.

Max Ferrandino is a Collegian contributor and can be reached at [email protected]