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Op Ed: TikTok Ads Give Me the Rush of Being Harassed on the Street


Photo by Natalia Joseph / Daily Pennsylvanian

In October 2018, TikTok was the most downloaded app in the United States. With around 500 million active users including celebrities such as Jimmy Fallon and Tony Hawk, it is easy to understand the hype. 

Upon hearing about TikTok, I, like many others, was super excited to re-acquaint myself with the lost Musical.ly community of Fortnite dancers, pickle Ricks, and breasts with bodies attached. However, the means by which TikTok spread the news of their launch I'll never forgive. The similarities between these TikTok ads and street harassment always make me reach for my keys…and, as a freshman, I don’t even own keys anymore. How am I supposed to feel safe holding a Penncard between my knuckles?

Think about it. There’s nothing quite like strolling down Spruce Street, minding your own business, only to be bombarded by the shrieks of a 40-year-old, way-too-aggressive man. Except, that is, scrolling down an Instagram feed, minding your own business, only to be bombarded by the shrieks of a 14-year-old, way-too-aggressive kid. 

In either case, you should never engage. In either case, you are best off continuing on your way as quickly as possible. In either case, outcries are obnoxious and unsolicited.

And if you are that guy from CIS that actually read the Instagram terms and conditions and wants to say, “but Eleanor, advertisements are a legally solicited part of the contract you agreed to when you signed your life away to our Lord and Savior, Mark Zuckerberg.” Screw you, dude. They don’t pay me to write these articles.

Even Betsy DeVos would agree that TikTok ads are harassment. With that said, sexual harassment is nothing to laugh about. Luckily for me, TikTok isn’t funny.