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Dawn of the TikTok Shop Apocalypse

tiktok app being searched

You open up your TikTok app ready to scroll for hours on end and become entranced into a social media daze. You airly laugh at a TikTok, but the moment you scroll you’re hit with an advertisement. “Buy our turmeric soap,” it exclaims as you sit in disbelief.

TikTok Shop was created in November of 2022. However, it didn’t take over media until about September 2023. Users can scroll through the web and find items such as toys, makeup and hygiene products, all conveniently priced at a cheap price that you just can’t miss! TikTok, like other apps, Instagram and Facebook, has become a home for consumerism and businesses. The reason why there is a surplus of advertisements is due to algorithms, or a user experience that is catered to your interest.

Algorithms control all social media experiences. An algorithm is a set of rules and data that commands the app operation. TikTok’s ‘For You Page,’ or entertaining videos that are shown to you, are based on your interests, behavior, and habits. The app tracks your day-to-day actions on social media. Whether you enjoy facial cleansers or are interested in clothes shopping, it tallies up all of your interests. It keeps you wanting to continue using a company’s app. 

Even further grabbing the users’ attention, is the increasing amount of discounts. In TikTok Shop, there are flash sales, where buyers can get items at as low as 89 cents. Content creators can earn money by promoting items, thus pushing products to users. When content creators with a following push out sponsorships and ads, it brings publicity to companies. If users see that their favorite content creator enjoys a product, then they feel like they might. Since TikTok shop affects so many user experiences, students in Santa Fe have something to say. “I’m not sure how trustworthy it is. A lot of them have a biased opinion since they’re being paid. A lot of it is guilt tripping,” said Viktoria Young on the topic.  

As users continue to purchase more items, the app is only expected to see more TikTok Shop advertisements. In TikTok’s future, which is maybe only nine months, users can clock in for their daily dose of two-hour scrolling and expect to see an abundance of TikTok shop promotions. 

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