Dec. 17, 2021 – “The more I interacted with those types of videos, the more they started to show up,” said Andie, 14, of the app, which has one billion users, many of them kids like her. “I wasn’t able to see how it was affecting me.”

Several months after being on TikTok, Andie, already a small girl, had dropped more than 20% of her body weight and her hair was falling out, her mother said. She was diagnosed with an eating disorder and began months of treatment at various facilities. Since September, she has been a patient in a Dallas-area treatment center and on a feeding tube until recently.  A recent Journal investigation showed how TikTok can quickly drive minors into endless spools of content about sex and drugs. It can also steer them to unhealthy places where skeletal bodies and feeding tubes are touted like a badge of honor. 

Several teens, including Andie, told the Journal that videos from complete strangers steadily popped up in their feeds, unlike some other social-media sites that focus more on content from users’ friends.

The teens believe TikTok’s nonstop stream of videos worsened their eating disorders more than other social media because watching was effortless. The site knew their interest in weight loss and served it up.


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