Social media apps have recently received lots of well-deserved scrutinies for their reckless endangerment of the mental health of their users. Despite the changes social media giants like TikTok have been making in order to solve these issues, the Wall Street Journal has reported that a recent study gave shocking results.
In the study, the WSJ created over 100 TikTok accounts designed to browse the app with “little human intervention”. Twelve of these test accounts were registered as 13-year-olds that spent their time watching videos surrounding weight loss, alcohol, and gambling. Upon abruptly stopping watching gambling videos, TikTok’s algorithm would then begin to rapidly show more weight loss videos to the bot. Of the 255,000 videos watched in total amongst the bots, 32,700 of them contained data associated with weight loss. 11,615 were connected in some way to eating disorders, and, most worryingly, 4,402 indicated the normalization of eating disorders.
The day after the damning report was released, TikTok made an announcement saying that it will work on stopping these dangerous Rabbit Holes from forming. Whether or not any changes will be made is still unclear.
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