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TikTok: The forever doom scroll


If there was one social media app I could exterminate from the world forever, it would be TikTok.  


Before I begin my list of grievances, I would like to clarify that yes, I have the app downloaded on my phone, and yes, I exceed my time limit on the app every single day. Like other social media platforms, it is undeniably an outlet for staying connected, keeping in touch with the news, and getting a good laugh. I cannot deny it has done some good in the world. But I still believe it has altered the social media landscape in an irreversible way, and, in my opinion, for the worse. 


TikTok truly took off in 2018 when it bought, an app that was mostly catered towards lip-sync and dance trends with popular audios. TikTok has consistently built off that model, and now users can create tutorials, memes, and vlog-style content all in video format. Now, in 2023, you can go live, post on your story, and toggle between your following, For You, and Explore pages. The possibilities are endless. You’ll never run out of things to do on the app.


When I first downloaded TikTok in 2019, I appreciated the app’s resemblance to Vine — short, entertaining videos with audios that were quotable and addictive. I think many other users felt the same way, plus, TikTok’s unique algorithm system always hit the nail on the head — my For You page somehow knew everything about me, so every time I opened the app, I was hooked.


This immersive, addicting experience of TikTok is exactly what I dislike about it most. From a marketing perspective, it is truly genius. A highly-sensitive algorithm that notes your every move, as well as videos that take up the entire span of your screen? It’s the perfect recipe for infinite scrolling, or the “doom scroll,” as many have called it. Not to mention, it’s exactly this format and technology that has altered my attention span.


As a person who loves to read for leisure, the temptation of TikTok specifically has acted as a barrier to this pastime. My study breaks are 15 minutes on TikTok. Before I go to bed, I watch probably 30 to 50 TikTok videos. 


The content I encounter on TikTok is maybe 30 percent fulfilling. The other 70 percent is either forgetful or honestly disturbing. The endless “hole” you get sucked into on TikTok is just throwing literally anything at you, and I could do without a lot of it.


In all honesty, it’s difficult to profess my hatred of TikTok for a couple of reasons. One, I have complete autonomy over my addiction. I can delete the app at any time, and I have before — once for an entire summer. A lot of these complaints are perhaps due to my own inability to step away, but at the same time, it is not my fault — or any Gen Z-er, for that matter — that the app is manufactured to be an obsession. 


Two, TikTok, as I have already briefly mentioned, has brought me happiness, albeit fabricated. I understand that everything on TikTok is pixels. It’s fake! I am — as are most of you reading this — addicted to pixels. Sure, these pixels are a reflection of real life in some capacity, but it is not the same as existing in the real world. 


Maybe my vendetta against TikTok lies in the fact that I hate that I love it. I am thankful at least that I have the wherewithal to recognize that it has changed my own and my generation’s lives, and that this change has made me a less attentive, less alert, and less satisfied person. 

Kate Linggi is from San Diego, Calif. Her major is English.