TikTok Accused of


TikTok Accused of "Romanticizing" Mental Health Struggles

Heather Lawrie
Heather Lawrie

07:17 7 Nov 2023

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TikTok has been accused of publishing videos that promote dangerous behaviours, particularly in teenagers and young people.

Amnesty International has published two reports on the social media platform, highlighting its potentially harmful content.

In the reports, the NGO show that 5 to 6 hours on the platform, almost 1 in 2 videos were about mental health struggles.

Amnesty warn that during its research, it saw multiple recommended videos which romanticized, normalized or even encouraged suicide.


Rabbit Holes

Amnesty International found that the business model is "inherently abusive" and puts users engagement ahead of their health and wellbeing.

The NGO are advising TikTok users to be careful of falling into "rabbit holes". When a person gets trapped looking at content on one topic for hours.

One of the reports researchers Lisa Dittmer outlines how this happens:

"The platform’s algorithmic content recommender system, credited with enabling the rapid global rise of the platform, exposes children and young adults with pre-existing mental health challenges to serious risks of harm."

"Most dangerously, when a young user signals an interest in mental health related content, they're at risk of being drawn into rabbit holes video after video in there for you feed that disgust, romanticise and even encourage depressive thoughts, self harm and suicide."

The two reports are listed below:

  1. Driven into the Darkness: How TikTok Encourages Self-harm and Suicidal Ideation
  2. I Feel Exposed: Caught in TikTok’s Surveillance Web.


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