What’s happening: A viral TikTok video showing a woman declining a marriage proposal went viral in America this weekend. The video highlights the potential burdens of domestic tasks like cleaning, cooking, and laundry as reasons to avoid marriage.
- Dive deeper: Despite the seemingly European woman in the trending video, online viewers discovered that the video originated in China and was amplified on the social media network through Chinese bot accounts.
Why it matters: TikTok, under the umbrella of Chinese company ByteDance, faces criticism for a double standard: pushing educational and wholesome content for Chinese users while promoting videos with themes of promiscuity, drug use, depression, suicide, and anti-marriage sentiments to Western audiences.
- Zoom out: TikTok’s promotion of such content is happening amid an all-time high of suicides (49,500 last year), depression (60 percent of teenage girls were persistently depressed in 2021), and unmarried Americans and an all-time-low in the belief in God in the U.S.
Zoom in: China is taking the effects of social media seriously — recently passing sweeping rules to cut down children’s smartphone and social media usage to protect them mentally and physically.
- What’s next? Republicans unsuccessfully pushed to ban TikTok because of the unhealthy messages promoted to the youth. They’re now pushing to prohibit teenagers from accessing social media without parental consent.