Dr. Carlos Burnett, a plastic surgeon in New Jersey, has appointments booked every day until March 2022.
Burnett said he previously considered his practice busy if he was booked two or more months in advance, even as he services the upscale Westfield, New Jersey, neighborhood. The plastic surgeon said he had not expected the huge spike in surgery bookings after spending months without work during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“You don’t want to jinx yourself, but it’s something that I’ve not seen in 25 years of practice,” Burnett said regarding the high demand for cosmetic surgeries.
Burnett is one of several plastic surgeons who told Insider they are seeing record numbers of patients make appointments for butt augmentation and other procedures as pandemic restrictions lifted this spring.
Facial procedures and Botox saw an unexpected spike in demand during the COVID-19 pandemic, which the American Society of Plastic Surgeons dubbed the “Zoom boom” after more people spent time staring at themselves on video calls.
Demand for plastic surgery has extended into 2021, according to The Aesthetic Society president Dr. William P. Adams, driven by a high demand for butt augmentation procedures.
In 2020, surgeons performed 40,000 butt augmentation procedures that brought in $140 million worth of revenue, according to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. The number of butt augmentation surgeries – also called Brazilian butt lifts or “BBLs” – increased by 90.3% between 2015 to 2019.
Adams attributed the significant growth of butt augmentation procedures’ popularity to celebrity trends and social media. One TikTok purporting to show butt augmentation patients crowding in an airport line has 3.2 million views.
The surgery’s new popularity has even led to a meme: the “BBL effect.” Coined by TikTok creator Antoni Bumba, the BBL effect is the unbothered confidence of those who have elected to bolster their buttocks.
New York City-based plastic surgeon Dr. Norman Rowe said he’s seen a record number of patients inquiring about a BBL. A year ago, Rowe said he got a phone call asking for butt augmentation consultation around three to four times per week; now, he gets multiple calls asking about butt lifts everyday.
Like Burnett, Rowe said his schedule is booked for the next calendar year. His procedure numbers are 30% to 35% higher than last year.
Burnett said he believes demand is up as more of his patients opt to spend their disposable income on plastic surgery than vacations or expensive jewelry. Average national costs for butt augmentation dropped from $5,507 in 2018 to $3,329 in 2020, making the procedure slightly more accessible beyond just the rich and famous, Burnett added.
Brazilian butt lifts have also become safer to perform when done by board-certified plastic surgeons, according to Dr. Mark Mofid, a California-based plastic surgeon and author of the 2017 paper “Report on Mortality from Gluteal Fat Grafting.”
Mofid and his team at the Aesthetic Surgery Education and Research Foundation found gluteal fat grafting, or the process of transferring stomach fat to the butt, had a “significantly higher” mortality rate than other cosmetic procedures because surgeons would more regularly inject fat into deep muscle and use smaller surgical instruments.
Since Mofid’s paper came out, board certified surgeons have adopted safer methods of performing butt augmentation procedures. Mofid and the doctors quoted in this article said the procedure is safer than in the past, but cautioned prospective patients to find a board-certified doctor who can perform the operation in a hospital and who stays up-to-date with latest safety research.
Mofid added he’s now the busiest he’s ever been in his career. Despite the heavy workload, each plastic surgeon told Insider they don’t feel burned out because they are passionate about their work.
“Am I working harder than I was two years ago? Yeah,” Rowe said. “Would I trade places with anybody? Not a chance in hell. I love what I do.”
Roxanne Luckey, 20, is the younger sister of Ginger Luckey, Gaetz’s fiancée. Roxanne’s TikTok account has since been taken private, but Insider viewed recordings on Twitter and YouTube.
In a statement to The Daily Beast, Ginger Luckey said her sister had a history of “destructive behavior.” Gaetz, Roxanne Luckey, and Ginger Luckey did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
What the videos say
In her first video, posted Sunday, Roxanne Luckey showed a New York Times article, which said the DOJ was investigating whether Gaetz had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old girl. (The congressman has denied any wrongdoing.)
The caption of the video read: “When a creepy old man tries to hit on you at the bar but your sisters engaged to a literal pedophile.”
In a Monday post, Luckey said Gaetz pressured his friend to date her last summer, when she was 19 and already in a relationship. She described the friend as being a divorced father “around Matt’s age,” 39.
“This guy kept telling me like: ‘Oh, Matt told me I should ask you out, that we would be great together.’ And I would just make jokes like: ‘Haha, I’m 19, like, that’s weird,'” Luckey said.
Luckey said when she confronted Gaetz at Thanksgiving, he “started yelling at me and my mom.”
“He called me a narcissist, was just 1,000% gaslighting me … He went full lawyer on me, like, ‘I don’t have to listen to you, I don’t have to answer your questions.'”
Luckey said after that episode, she was “unfortunately not surprised” to learn Gaetz was facing a sex-trafficking investigation.
She also said she should have used the term “ephebophile” – a person attracted to mid- to late-adolescents – to describe Gaetz instead of “pedophile,” a person attracted to pre-pubescent children.
Luckey said she recorded the videos to hold politicians accountable
“As someone who has personally experienced a ton of creepy old politician men hitting on me when I was underage and experiencing sexual assault at that age by people of power, it’s just very disheartening,” she said in the Monday video.
“While that little video I made was such a minuscule thing, and I know does not properly bring to light the whole situation, if I can just bring some attention to it … and people can be held accountable, that’s my goal.”
When reached for comment by The Daily Beast, Ginger Luckey said: “Matt and I are enjoying our engagement and are deeply in love. My estranged sister is mentally unwell.”
“She has been in therapy for years and our family hopes that after receiving in-patient mental health treatment, she will overcome the tendency she has repeatedly shown to engage in destructive behavior.”
Xiao Qiumei, an influencer from China, reportedly died after falling from a 160-foot tower crane while recording herself for a social media video in the city of Quzhou, China.
The Sun reported that the 23-year-old was speaking into a camera in what appears to be a crane cabin when she fell.
Footage obtained by the outlet shows the camera suddenly switched to blurry images of equipment flying past the lens.
The Sun reported that witnesses saw Xiao fall to the ground with her phone still in her hand on Tuesday 20 at around 5:40 p.m. when most of her co-workers went home.
Xiao was the mother of two children and a tower crane operator. According to the Sun, the family confirmed her death, stating that she fell as a result of a misstep.
She was well known on social media sites, including the Chinese version of TikTok, known as Douyin, for regularly sharing videos of her daily life and profession with a large amount of followers, according to the Sun and other outlets.
Earlier this month, an influencer from Hong Kong reportedly died after falling from a waterfall while taking a picture. While taking photos near the waterfall on the Tsing Dai stream, Sophia Cheung slipped and plunged into a 16-foot-deep pool, The Daily Mail reported.
TikTokers online encouraged her to create put the Doritos chip up for sale on eBay and that’s exactly what she did.
A few users even joked: “Put it in a museum.”
Rylee put the chip up for sale for $0.99 – which stated “puffy dorito one of a kind” – and it wasn’t long until she starting receiving bids of up to $100,000, 9News reported.
The listing was eventually taken down but after the story attracted so much attention, Doritos offered Stuart $20,000.
“We’ve been so impressed with Rylee’s boldness and entrepreneurial spirit, so we wanted to make sure the Stuart family were rewarded for their creativity and love for Doritos,” Vanita Pandey, chief marketing officer at Doritos told 9News.
“It’s been a whirlwind couple of days for Rylee and her family and we’ve loved following her story,” she added.
Rylee told the outlet she had intended to eat the chip but then had second thoughts. “I was about to eat it, and I thought I better save it for later.”
“Dad is saying that since he bought the packet, it’s his chip. But I ate the packet and found it, so I believe it is mine,” she added.
Rare food-based auctions have attracted huge bids in the past.
Way back in 2004, a grilled cheese sandwich that appeared to feature the face of Virgin Mary was sold for $28,000, according to the BBC.
More recently, a McDonald’s chicken nugget shaped like a character from online game, “Among Us” was sold on eBay for $100,000, The Guardian reported.
When Jeremy Kim and John Dalsey started their hard-seltzer company, Nectar, late last year, they went door to door to 200 stores in Los Angeles looking for someone to carry their product. “We would go to these stores, drop off samples, and then, you know, I’d be excited because we’re getting all this positive feedback from our friends and family and their friends – these store owners are probably going to have the same reaction,” Kim told Insider. “Nobody would give us a call back.”
Kim said the constant rejection made him and his partner nervous that they had missed their window of opportunity by selling the summer beverage in late fall. That’s when they decided to hop on TikTok, which was surging in popularity amid the pandemic.
“First I put together a video, basically just chronicling our journey of how we got our first box and just to see whether or not anybody would be interested in the drink,” Kim said, noting that he added a phone number that viewers could text to show interest.
“I posted the video in early November and it did OK, got like 30,000 views, and we’re, like, ‘Right, you know, a hundred more of these videos and we’ll be the biggest brand ever.'”
The video showed Nectar in production – the cans of hard seltzer being filled, sealed, and boxed – superimposed with captions detailing the time it took to bring the product to fruition. Kim said they put a lot of effort into their videos regardless of whether they go viral: “Shooters keep shooting.”
A few weeks later, on Black Friday, Kim said that he got a notification that TikTok took down their biggest video for breaking community guidelines. A spokesperson for TikTok told Insider that Nectar’s video was flagged by the algorithm for sharing personally identifiable information by adding the phone number in the caption.
“I quickly reposted it, and I texted everybody in our group chat, ‘Dude, they took down our biggest video,”‘ he said, adding he was “freaked out” by the move.
Much to his surprise, the views on the reposted video grew tenfold. Three days later, Kim said the video had more than 300,000 views, and “hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of people across the entire United States” texted the phone number to express interest. As of Thursday, the video had 415,000 views.
The duo took the videos and hundreds of phone numbers to two mom-and-pop liquor stores in Los Angeles. They put 150 boxes on the shelves at each location and sent out a text to those who texted the phone number from their viral video to let them know that the seltzer was available for the first time to customers.
When they arrived at the stores the next morning, Kim said it was “pandemonium,” and Nectar sold out in under an hour. “I will always remember this day for the rest of my life,” he said. Since then, the popularity has only grown, with other viral videos gaining 500,000 views each. The company’s TikTok had 39,000 followers in seven months.
Nectar ended up hosting more pop-up events and gaining more traction on TikTok before eventually distributing their product with alcohol retailer BevMo and delivery startup GoPuff, which acquired BevMo in November of last year.
The company also made it known to their followers that they would take their product to any city that gets 300 people to text the company phone number and recently sold more than 300 boxes of Nectar in Seattle.
“Seven months ago, we had zero customers and followers,” Kim said. “Today we are in 100 stores self-distributed across California. We ship direct across the entire state of New York. We did this with no distributor, no publicist, no marketing budget.”
Nectar wasn’t the only small business that leveraged the growing popularity of Tiktok and the platform’s algorithm to launch their success. The popular video-based app has joined the ranks of other social-media platforms like Facebook and Instagram to help businesses build their brand and get their name out there.
Digital marketing isn’t new, but TikTok’s been a game-changer for small businesses
Analiese Ross, the CEO and cofounder of AMR Digital Marketing, said using social media as a marketing tool “can really level the playing field for all the businesses, specifically all different sizes and income levels.”
“You see like the big players on there – Nike, Coca-Cola – and then you see small businesses that have a fraction of the budget, but are actually doing way better on social,” Ross said. “And that’s like one of the very, I think, unique things about [digital marketing]. That really doesn’t happen in any other area of marketing.”
But what sets TikTok apart from social platforms like Instagram and Facebook, however, is the video app’s unique ability to make videos go viral. Ross said the biggest draw to TikTok are the fluctuations in video traffic, even if you have a smaller base of followers.
“You’re not going to see those big fluctuations on Instagram where, like, one post gets a million views and the other gets 200,” she said. “That ability to go super-viral and not have it be dependent on your follower count is very unique to TikTok, and it provides, I think, a huge opportunity for a small business who doesn’t have a ton of followers, who doesn’t have all those resources.”
Small businesses can use TikTok’s interest-based algorithm to get their product in front of the right demographic, Ross said. Whether it is viewers who are looking to buy a specific item or are simply coming across merchandise representing their existing obsessions, the algorithm identifies the viewers’ interests and puts specific videos into their news feed, known as a “For You Page.”
“I mean, you can have 200 followers on TikTok and have a video go viral, and it gets a million views and it completely changes everything for you,” Ross added.
“It’s really all about showing people what they want to see,” she said. “So Instagram is all about connecting you with your friends, with people that you know, and you have to be able to find those people and follow them … TikTok is just about what you like.”
That facet of the TikTok algorithm lent itself to the business concept behind Nice Shirt. Thanks!, a custom-clothing company, and helped build its following.
Hayden Rankin and Mason Manning brainstormed the idea of their comedic apparel company in October of last year because the pair “wanted to be able to monetize art and comedy.” Customers send in a prompt of what they want on their shirt, and artists contracted with the company design the shirt without the customers’ knowledge of what it could be.
“We had a few ideas, like, ‘Oh, maybe the customer could create their idea,’ or ‘Oh, maybe we could design something,’ and then, sure enough, it just came to this idea,” Rankin said. “Our interpretation is going to be put down on what the customer wants onto a shirt, and we’re going to keep it as a surprise until the customer gets it.”
“This is a market that we don’t really think exists quite yet,” he added.
Prompts from customers could range anywhere from designs featuring their favorite musicians and pop-culture fandom to suggestions such as “I like hedgehogs, but I also have borderline personality disorder.”
Their business concept lends itself to social media: Their product is the result of a conversation with consumers. While they do have 27,000 followers on Instagram – where some customers can post their order on their Story – and an even smaller audience on Twitter, Rankin said their TikTok account, which has 230,000 followers, reaches the most people, especially with the potential of their customers’ videos going viral alongside their own.
The next logical step after giving customers a surprise design on a T-shirt was getting the reaction, which customers are asked to post on TikTok with the hashtag #niceshirtthanks. The hashtag has nearly 50 million views.
Rankin said they noticed their growing popularity early, prompting them to caps the number of shirts they could sell in one day. “Because of the nature of the business – each shirt is individualized – we can’t mass-produce a ton of one design,” he said. “We found that we’re going to have to limit the number of orders because we don’t know how many we can produce quite yet.”
He added that as the company grows, the pair hopes to increase the number of allowed sales and continue working full time on expanding the brand and the appeal of comedic apparel.
Going viral on TikTok persuaded some small business owners to turn their side gig into a full-time venture
Like Nice Shirt. Thanks!, TikTok fame convinced another small-business owner to invest in their business full time. Alyssa Brianna started her business, Fabulyss, last July selling self-defense key chains and jewelry. Brianna, a 22-year-old recent college graduate, said she made herself a key chain after she was harassed on campus and later decided to sell self-defense products.
Brianna said she initially intended on casually running the business on the side until graduation, and she said she was only advertising products on Instagram, which mainly friends and family followed. About a month into creating Fabulyss, she decided to make TikTok videos for fun.
“And then one day, one of my TikTok videos blew up, got millions of views,” Brianna, who has 1.3 million followers on TikTok, said. “And ever since then, I’ve been selling out consistently since November because of TikTok.”
Brianna has since expanded her business to an office space in February and has two family members working for her. She said she hopes to get a warehouse for her products within the next year and do pop-up shops to meet her customers in person – a vision that would not have been made possible if she had not gone viral on TikTok.
“Because of, like, the algorithm, it changed my entire future. I actually didn’t want this as a full-time thing,” Brianna said. “I thought once I graduate, I’ll just stop it, but it showed me that I can just be my own boss and do what I want.”
She added: “So if it wasn’t for TikTok, I would just be working a regular 9-to-5 job like everybody else does, but instead I get to do what I want and on my own time.”
Going viral can put big pressure on a small business
Having their businesses go viral can be a welcome surprise for entrepreneurs looking to build their customer base, but it doesn’t come without drawbacks. For Clariz Marielle, who owns a custom pet-jewelry business, Woof Palace, millions of views generated a lot of sales, as well as a lot of pressure.
Marielle receives photos of her customers’ pets to turn into line-art drawings she designs herself. From there, the designs are engraved onto jewelry pendants to create personalized accessories for her customers, a process that takes a few weeks. Marielle posts videos of her design process on her business’ TikTok account, which has nearly 412,000 followers.
In one of her first viral videos, which has 9 million views, she talked about a customer stealing from her business by complaining about the necklace and refusing to return the product after Marielle granted her a refund.
“It generated a lot of sales that I couldn’t really handle,” Marielle said. “I mean, I didn’t think about stopping my store. So I just took all of the orders, thinking that I could draw everything in one week and then ship them out the next week, but that wasn’t humanly possible.”
Though Marielle scrambled to keep up with the new demand as a result of her viral videos, she said her customers started to complain and send angry messages, and some even posted publicly accusing her of scamming them.
Ali Mirza, a digital-marketing strategist and founder of #iSocialYou, said he has seen small-business owners and entrepreneurs getting overwhelmed by a lot of sudden attention from social media. Mirza told Insider that businesses can safeguard themselves from those situations by setting the right expectation and capturing customers’ contact information to notify them of a restock if they order when inventory is sold out.
He also advised owners and entrepreneurs that find themselves in that situation to remember that social media is “just one piece of your whole business. It’s not the business.”
“My perspective is, we want to use social media to build our business – we don’t want to be used by social media,” Mirza said. “I want to use social media to bring traffic to me, but then I have other aspects of my business to really capture that traffic and use it to my benefit.”
Since going viral, Marielle said she brought on her friend to help with customer service and her uncle to help with the pet pendant engravings, and she said the positive reactions from her customers receiving such a personal product gives her “so much drive to wake up every day and do something for my small business.”
“Seeing the reactions of my customers made me feel so happy and content inside because, you know, I feel like I created that,” Marielle said. “I drew their dog, and seeing them really happy and just cherish the jewelry is really what motivated me to keep going and do it every day. And ever since I think I didn’t have a free day for like six months, and it was so much fun.”
“TikTok has really become a critical part of artist storytelling,” Kristen Bender, SVP of digital strategy and business development at Universal Music Group, told Insider during a webinar on TikTok’s impact on the music industry. “Since we signed our deal with TikTok earlier this year, our labels have been extremely leaned into the platform.”
The industry’s attention on TikTok isn’t unfounded. Songs that trend on TikTok often end up charting on the Billboard 100 or Spotify Viral 50. And 67% of the app’s users are more likely to seek out songs on music-streaming services after hearing them on TikTok, according to a November study conducted for TikTok by the music-analytics company MRC Data.
Song promo deals between music marketers and influencers have also become an important source of income for TikTok creators. Some users can earn hundreds or even thousands of dollars for a single video where they promote an artist’s track.
“Music marketing on TikTok is huge,” Jesse Callahan, founder of the upstart marketing firm Montford Agency, told Insider. “It’s a big way that labels have brought artists into the spotlight the last couple of years. It’s also a big way that creators have made a lot of money.”
Many record labels have teams dedicated to monitoring the app so they can help fan the flames on a trending song when it starts to take off.
“Our entire music catalog is effectively tracked on a daily basis,” said Andy McGrath, the senior vice president of marketing at Legacy Recordings, a division within Sony Music focused on the label’s catalog of songs dating back decades. “We’re constantly monitoring actions, reactions, and trends that happen on TikTok.”
While some songs take off on TikTok accidentally, as was the case with Matthew Wilder’s 1983 song “Break My Stride” or Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams,” other times, record labels and marketers pay TikTok influencers to promote a particular song in a video.
It’s impossible to predict what video or music trends will take off on TikTok.
RCA Records’ SVP of digital marketing Tarek Al-Hamdouni said the label’s promotional strategy involves a fair amount of experimentation with each campaign. The company will often work with an influencer agency to find somewhere between 10 and 30 lower-follower-count influencers to promote a new track in videos and then go after trends that stick.
“We actually give them the freedom to post what they’d like with that content,” he said. “If you see one or two posts start to overperform based on a consistent creative, what we can do is go find those bigger influencers and get them on board with the trend. In the best-case scenario, your micro-influencer campaign is so successful that it creates the trend on its own and then the bigger influencers are going to jump on board organically.”
While TikTok is often a go-to platform for promoting a newly released track, some artists incorporate the app even earlier in their creative process.
The Canadian rapper Tiagz (Tiago Garcia-Arenas) built a following of 4.2 million fans on the app by writing songs that directly referenced the app’s popular memes and trends, effectively gaming its search and content recommendation algorithms.
“I tried to understand the platform,” Tiagz told Insider. “I kept doing these memes because I saw that it worked.”
Not all song trends on TikTok happen serendipitously or via external music marketing campaigns.
TikTok also has an internal music division dedicated to monitoring music trends on the app. The team has a series of “promo levers” it uses to boost the popularity of songs. The company can add new tracks to playlists in the “Sounds” section of its app and apply keywords on the back end to optimize song discoverability in the app’s search interface.
How TikTok creators can make money from working with music industry professionals
Music marketers regularly pay TikTok influencers to promote songs. The practice has become so common that there are entire agencies dedicated to song promotions on the app.
For the app’s creators, it can be an easy way to monetize their following without having to create a sponsored post for a brand.
“We’ve still found that TikTok remains the most engaged, the most used, and the most rewarding per dollar spent,” Griffin Haddrill, an artist manager and cofounder of the marketing agency VRTCL, told Insider.
As TikTok’s user base has grown and content has become more saturated, marketers are turning more to micro influencers over superstars for song campaigns.
“The price point for mega stars is extremely high,” Zach Friedman, a cofounder at the upstart record label Homemade Projects, told Insider. “The way the TikTok algorithm works, it’s hard to know what’s going to be successful. Instead of paying a premium for a D’Amelio, you could pay a micro influencer $200 and their TikTok could get 10 million views. Because of this, it’s better to cast a wider net.”
Those “swipe-ups” on Instagram Stories or the links below a YouTube video aren’t just for the convenience of sharing a link – they’re how many influencers make money.
When someone makes a purchase on a website after clicking through a trackable link or using a specific code, the influencer who posted it can earn a commission from that sale. That’s called affiliate marketing.
How lucrative affiliate marketing is for an influencer depends on several factors such as their following size, engagement, and which industry they are in. It also depends on the commission rates brands and platforms put in place.
For instance, some finance influencers can make a decent portion of their income from affiliate links alone. They might work with investing apps like Robinhood or Acorns.
Some influencers have even started texting their followers with links to their favorite products as a way to drive sales. And platforms like Instagram are also tapping into this space with their own native affiliate marketing programs.
Insider has talked with many influencers and industry experts about affiliate marketing. Here’s a rundown of what they told us they have earned.
How much money do influencers make using affiliate marketing?
We spoke with a handful of influencers about how they incorporate affiliate links into their content. Several detailed their monthly earnings. They ranged from about $50 per month to more than $25,000 per month.
Here’s how much money 8 creators make from affiliates:
It’s completely normal for social media sites to frequently change their policies, features, and community guidelines. TikTok, the short-form video platform, is no different.
When TikTok launched, it had a feature that allowed users to see who visited their profile. But that is no longer the case. Unlike Instagram’s Stories or Snapchat, where users can see who views their content, TikTok doesn’t offer its users the ability to see who viewed their videos, only how many times each video has been viewed.
Can you see who views your TikTok?
No. TikTok does not have a feature that allows its users to see which accounts have viewed their videos. This means that while you may not be able to see who exactly is viewing your videos, your viewing habits are also left anonymous, too.
Instead of showing who has viewed your videos, TikTok only shows how many times videos on your profile have been viewed.
TikTok users can see who comments on their videos as well as who creates “duets” or “stitches” (essentially video edits) of their content using the Activity tab on the app.
2. Select the Me icon in the bottom-right corner. This will take you to your profile.
3. Here, you can see your view count on each video in the lower-left corner. You will not be notified if your view count increases, so be sure to periodically check your profile to see how many views your videos have received.
How to see who has liked or reposted your TikToks
1. From the home screen of the TikTok app, select the Inbox tab at the bottom.
2. At the top, select the drop-down menu.
3. Here, you can filter your notifications to show what accounts have liked your videos, commented on your videos, followed you, or mentioned you.
The rise of ‘finfluencers’ and huge surge in financial content on platforms like TikTok, Instagram and Twitter over the past 18 months has hooked a new generation on finance and investing.
Young investors are spending their spare cash on cryptocurrencies and stocks – with a large number of them following the advice they got from scrolling through social media, lured in by promises to get rich quick and beat the system.
Videos tagged #finance, #investing or #stocktok on TikTok have billions of views – a total of 7.5 billion at time of writing. Clips hyping stocks that are “going to the moon”, promising consumers they can easily turn $10 into $10,000 or kickstart a “doge revolution” dominate the financial social media scene and drown out educational content.
“The FOMO culture that dominates social platforms like TikTok, Reddit and Instagram has become a breeding ground for the marketing of high-risk investments shunned by the mainstream investment industry – often for good reason.” Myron Jobson, personal finance campaigner at Interactive Investor, told Insider.
Not all financial social media content can however be labeled the same. With the same hashtags that promote questionable investment and financial advice, there are videos with sound advice explaining Roth IRAs, how to increase your credit score or the benefits of long-term investing.
Tori Dunlap, a money expert who started her first business at age nine and accumulated $100,000 worth of savings by age 25, is one of the ‘finfluencers’ who shares such content as part of her brand Her First $100K on TikTok.
She said even before TikTok, bad financial advice was everywhere – it was just delivered through a different medium. Her main issue with the app is the 60-second time limit on videos. This feature was recently removed, but longer videos are still rare.
“I have a lot of parameters because I only have a minute and so I am using TikTok hopefully for folks as a jumping off point of like ‘I’m giving you this bit of education, now go read about it,'” she said in a recent interview with Insider.
Dunlap believes problems arise when consumers stop questioning the content they are taking in – after receiving good advice once, it’s easy to keep trusting what you see online, she said.
“You have to go ‘does this seem too good to be true?’ and if it seems too good to be true, it probably is. Or, just google the person.” she said.
Jobson agrees – he recognizes some content is helpful, but warns consumers to approach online investment advice with caution and to check the credibility of those who are giving it.
“There are some good materials out there to help people on their investment journey, but, more generally, we have seen concerning social media posts.” he said. “The advent of broader online ‘influencers’ has seen rise of so-called ‘financial influencers’ – many of whom haven’t got a clue on what they are talking about to put it bluntly.”
A TikTok video that apparently showed a bizarre cash-register glitch at Starbucks has garnered more than 5 million views.
Initially posted on July 12 by TikTok user and apparent Starbucks employee @themondanadiaries, the video has now gone viral. It shows a malfunctioning register after a customer ordered a bagel with butter.
But a glitch in the system caused a seemingly endless stream of receipts printed with the word “butter” to flow out of the register.
In the video, @themondanadiaries and her colleagues watch in disbelief. Another video shows one of the workers turning off the machine – but the glitch just shifted to another register.
Text on the video says: “He broke it. It won’t stop printing this.” The user added in a caption that the event left her colleague “panicking.”
One barista in Tennessee said he makes “at least 15” TikTok iced white mochas each day. But staff told Insider’s Grace Dean they were feeling the strain of making so-called “TikTok” drinks, which are inspired by viral trends. One worker said customers get “very mad” if their drinks are not made perfectly – making staff feel like they are “coffee-making robots.”