TikTok Covers Up Brazilian User’s Suicide

If you’re a teenager, chances are you have heard of, and probably even downloaded, the notorious app known as “TikTok.” This video-sharing social media platform was launched in 2017 as an updated version of Musical.ly. The new app is run by a Beijing company called “ByteDance”, and made a quick reputation filled with controversy. 

In 2019, the company faced a lawsuit due to allegedly exposing the information of minors. The chinese app has also been accused of censoring videos that do not fit their agenda.

Since then, the app has run into yet another slip-up, with recent information revealing that a Brazilian user committed suicide while livestreaming in February of 2019, with 280 people watching. The company’s response was to contact their PR team first, before notifying police three hours later. 

“The company waited nearly three hours after learning about the suicide before reaching out to the police. Instead of alerting authorities immediately, the company prepared a press statement — that it never released of its own volition”, reported The Intercept, the first news outlet to cover the story.

TikTok used those three hours to try and cover up the incident, and prevent it from going viral on any major media outlets. 

They managed to keep the story under wraps for a while, until a former employee of TikTok released the information to The Insider anonymously in February 2020, a year later.

“The source also provided The Intercept with an internal document that detailed the company’s management of the crisis, including a granular timeline of what happened”, said The Insider.

But even then, major news outlets have neglected to report on this story, leaving many people unaware of the situation.

“I actually haven’t heard much about that”, said sophomore Maya Badali, a daily TikTok user, when asked what she knew about the situation.

“But with what I have heard, I think that it is extremely inconsiderate of the platform not to confront something as severe as this head on,” she went on to explain.

Unless another ex-employee from TikTok steps forward, it seems as though there is no way of knowing what else the company could still be hiding.

“I want to know what else happened, what else happened in that year, what else happened last week, what’s happening right now on TikTok that we don’t know about, because they are so good at covering things up,”,said D’angelo Wallace, a YouTuber who shed light on the issue in a recent video titled “TikTok did something unforgivable. They hid it for a year.”

There are many unanswered questions about this app and its parent company, but one thing is for sure, no matter how morally questionable the app is, teenagers are going to continue using TikTok as long as it provides them with quick and consistent entertainment.

Image Source: ru.wikipedia.org