#WTF: TikTok:

“Trauma Porn”

The Internet was already a confusing mess before 2020 kicked us down the stairs. Ever since this wretched year began, things have become more indecipherable across the web. In 2020 alone, people have been tweeting about the moon being hexed by teen witches, the word “himbo” being ableist and Ben Shapiro not being able to say the word “p***y.” At a glance, all of these insane statements probably do not make any sense to the average person. Unfortunately, I know all too well what they mean and how they came to be. I will do my best to explain them each week, beginning with the new disturbing trend on TikTok.

Recently, the controversial platform has faced backlash on Twitter because of an unsavory trend that many users are partaking in. As of late, users have started to create TikToks where they impersonate Holocaust victims. These short videos include users wearing striped clothing, make-up to appear bruised and a yellow Star of David to top it off. Some of these videos have featured users acting out events of the genocide or even going as for to use concentration camps as their backdrop. As these disturbing videos began to trend on TikTok, Twitter users began debating the offensive nature of the content. Many users felt the content was sensationalizing and dramatizing these real-world events. This dramatization is often referred to as “trauma porn,” as it devalues traumatic events to generate buzz on social media. In response, the creators of these TikToks have issued statements claiming that these videos were meant to be entirely educational.

This debate over offensive content has also sparked more controversy regarding TikTok’s content moderation. Early into this discourse, Twitter user @Mowgli_Lincoln started a thread which collected these disturbing videos. In the thread, she stated that TikTok needed to “get a hand on its policies and reaction to hateful/ignorant [sic] and harmful content.” This trend of calling upon social media sites to moderate offensive content is not a new one. Recently Facebook and Twitter have been called upon to better act on the spread of internet conspiracies like QAnon. With TikTok’s future in the U.S uncertain, there is no telling how the company will react to this trend.