TikTok has billions of users all around the world. Launched in 2017, it is one of the most downloaded apps available on Google Play Store. It blew away the market with its wide range of features and even took over Instagram. TikTok has been in the limelight for being criticised for censoring content that is deemed sensitive by China.

Cyberbullying has been quite visible on Tiktok. This is especially towards gays, overweight and people suffering from any kind of disability. What happens is that, these people do not show in the feeds and their audience is restricted. Their videos are only available in the country where the upload has been made. In a certain leaked file, it was found that people who are deemed susceptible to any form of harassment based on their physical or mental condition were not provided with enough audience which others might take advantage of.

TikTok has most recently been in news for abetting suicide of a man. The Orissa High Court took up the case. It was found that a man had allegedly committed suicide after receiving intimate Tik Tok videos of his wife with a person he knew as, the man his wife was in an intimate relationship before marriage. The said videos were also streamed on social media. For the woman, it’s her past that came to haunt her present. The court noted, “appears that the Tik Tok videos in the instant case has become the cause for tragic end of an innocent life, though the content of the Tik Tok video could not have been touched by the updated case diary. This kind of transmitting Tik Tok videos with offensive content to harass victims are on prowl and are gradually on the rise. Large number of people, especially the youth, both in rural and urban areas, are vulnerable to such troubling trend. Such act is executed smartly through digital platforms and get integrated with the social media. Seeing such Tik Tok videos getting viral might have become humiliating and embarrassing to the deceased which is quite apparent in the instant case though the content of the videos is yet to be brought into the preview of the investigation. Of late, Cyber bullying activity like the instant case, has reared its ugly head and swept away so many innocent lives through many of its ugly manifestations.”

In its judgement, the Orissa High Court said, “Tik Tok Mobile App which often demonstrates a degrading culture and encourage pornography besides causing paedophiles and explicit disturbing content, is required to be properly regulated so as to save the teens from its negative impact.”

After such cases of cyberbullying, TikTok released an immediate policy to tackle the issue. The mental trauma faced is enormous. Some people faced an outrage by orthodox pretending to drink bleach, hang themselves and making claims that, gays should commit suicide. The privacy policy ushered by ByteDance for TikTok is temporary and therefore it is hard to comment on how the new bluntly implemented policy holds ground.

By Ridha Dhawan


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