TikTok and Adult Cyber Bullying

Jessamyn Dodd

The type of videos that often go viral on TikTok range from little children cursing, funny or unusual pets, pretty girls performing dance trends, and posting something controversial. These videos bring thousands of followers and often millions of views. But what happens when posting a controversial video goes too far and turns into cyber harassment?

There are several TikTok users who, instead of posting a video of their own controversy or family secrets, are posting videos of other users and weaponizing their followers to bully anyone who does not agree with them. And followers love the drama.

According to one user named Denise Maupin (@cuban_d_lite) "It is bigger than just calling people names online. There are so many people involved and so many stories. And people who were never involved in the first place are trying to get involved for clout. Cause it gets views". Denise alleges that she has been the target of real-world actions such as users calling her alma mater (USC) in an attempt to obtain her personal information, and TikTok users threatening to release her birth certificate, and her home address.

One of the most bizarre and dangerous online drama sagas is that involving a boxer's daughter and her drifter boyfriend, whom she met online. Her boyfriend has a rap sheet that includes stalking, harassing, and extortion. He has filmed himself doxing and threatening several users on TikTok most notably Patrick Jeanty @kingjeanty1989_. One man known as Sobe states "If Skolla did that to my children, I don't know what I would do". Sobe continues, "I understand that it's gonna bring light to all the BS that all these creators have done. I have all the videos documented and saved on my external hard drive" he muses, referring to online arguments with Jeanty.

So it seems to go in circles. An eye for an eye over and over again. When one creator threatens another creator, that creator then turns around and makes a threat back, with followers and viewers jumping in to pick sides. TikTok users from Texas to Canada have all thrown their hats in the ring for no apparent reason other than attention. Some have been willing to post themselves committing crimes such as doxing from the depths of their eroded basements. When a light is shined on one situation, it is met with countless "what about" arguments. According to Merriam Webster "The tactic behind whataboutism has been around for a long time. Rhetoricians generally consider it to be a form of tu quoque, which means "you too" in Latin and involves charging your accuser with whatever it is you've just been accused of rather than refuting the truth of the accusation made against you. Tu quoque is considered to be a logical fallacy because whether or not the original accuser is likewise guilty of an offense has no bearing on the truth value of the original accusation"

There is no resolution in sight with many users of the app fearing that this will end in someone getting hurt or killed.

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Jessamyn is a television journalist and photographer.

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