The immense popularity of TikTok in Vietnam has resulted in many negative effects. Toxic content, such as showing off the body offensively or even spreading sexual images, is rife on the social network.
Parents should take caution to protect their children from the evils of TikTok, observers said.
Various tricks to attract views, sell goods
With more than 500,000 followers and nearly ten million likes, Q.T.’s TikTok account has poor content, mainly videos of her dances.
Q.T. has no reservations about flaunting her body by wearing low-necked T-shirts or tight pants or skirts.
She reveals her body to attract viewers and followers and lure them to other pages offering products, such as an underwear store on Shopee, an online shop selling apple cider vinegar, a website offering cosmetics made from honey, and a gift service provider.
Similarly, Ha’s TikTok page with more than 300,000 followers and two million likes also includes videos in which she shows off her body.
Without carefully-prepared content, her videos still attract a lot of viewers.
For example, a video of this girl in a nightgown lying on a hotel bed has over 400,000 likes and 3,500 comments.
In her introduction on TikTok, Ha says she advertises weight gain, weight loss, botox and filler injection, acne treatment services, and skin whitening cream, with a link to her Facebook account.
Videos on TikTok help Ha promote herself and sell products. The direct interaction with viewers also helps her access a large number of customers.
Viewers can easily see videos of girls displaying their bodies on TikTok.
“Exposing the body is the fastest way to increase followers and reactions. Otherwise, it will be hard to have hundreds of thousands of followers and tens of millions of comments,” said Hong, a TikToker in Ho Chi Minh City.
Hong added that coming up with the content for videos on TikTok is easier than those on YouTube as the TikTok clips are shorter.
However, it is also difficult to create attractive content in such a short duration, so showing off the body is the easiest and fastest way.
It is also worrying that many young people earn money by setting up private groups and providing prohibited services on TikTok.
The Sugar Baby page on TikTok leads viewers to a website offering sugar dating services that are illegal in Vietnam.
Sugar dating is a relationship where 'sugar daddies' or 'sugar mommas' provide financial support for their 'sugar babies' in exchange for romantic affection and possibly sex.
Photos, names, and locations of many girls are available on the website.
The website also provides detailed instructions to help 'sugar daddies' make the acquaintance of 'sugar babies.'
Furthermore, many TikTok accounts were created to lure others to pages, groups or apps offering filthy movies.
These pages and groups are full of pornographic photos and videos as well as activities to earn money, such as prostitution and sex chatting.
Some groups even offer their exclusive sex videos and live streams with fees required.
Additionally, multiple ads for gambling and betting services are rampant on TikTok.
|TikTok has quickly become one of the most popular social networks in Vietnam. Photo: Quang Dinh / Tuoi Tre|
The popularity of TikTok has made it a tool for swindlers. One of the most popular tricks recently is asking users to like or follow certain TikTok accounts to earn money.
Tiktok users will be paid VND5,000-10,000 (US$0.2-0.4) per like or follow. After the first five likes or follows, the prey will be told to top up cheaters’ accounts to receive a double amount.
They will have their money returned one time but the cheaters will later disappear with the money.
According to the Vietnam Computer Emergency Response Team (VNCert), many residents have complained that they have received recruitment ads through spam text messages or phone calls posing as TikTok.
They reported receiving the message 'TikTok is recruiting employees working at home! Earn at least VND800,000 [$34.2] per day. New ones will be trained. Everyone with spare time will be accepted. Please add the Zalo account: xxxxxxxxxx.'
“For gullible people, these spam text messages may make them fall into large multi-level marketing rings," a VNCert representative said.
"Believing in promises of simple work-from-home jobs with high salaries, many people have been stuck in multi-level marketing jobs.”
Responsibility for preventing bad content
TikTok helps spread dynamic lifestyles far and wide. Through TikTok, many young people are able to confidently express themselves.
TikTok has also contributed to spreading many good trends. As a case in point, the 'graduation season' trend has quickly become viral with nearly 4.3 billion views and 900,000 videos, or the 'beloved family' trend on the occasion of the Vietnamese Family Day (June 28) with over 1.9 billion views and 400,000 videos.
TikTok said it was developing a new system to classify the content based on the age of users.
It already launched a new tool allowing users to automatically skip videos that they do not want to watch.
Some experts said that TikTok is a social network, so it definitely features both positive and negative trends.
TikTok’s fast development may cause its control system to overload or fail to keep pace with users’ video upload pace, thus missing a lot of harmful content.
According to a report on the operation of news sites, social networks, games, and content service providers in the first half of the year of the Authority of Broadcasting and Electronic Information under the Ministry of Information and Communications, negative and harmful information is becoming commonplace on cross-border digital platforms, such as Facebook, TikTok, and YouTube.
Some foreign enterprises providing cross-border services in Vietnam have sought ways to deny their responsibility for preventing negative and harmful information.
According to the Digital 2022 report by We Are Social, Vietnam has more than 39.9 million TikTok users aged over 18, making up over 55 percent of the country’ Internet users.
Meanwhile, according to reports by Decision Lab in 2022 and The Connected Consumer in the last quarter of last year, TikTok has overtaken Instagram as one of the four most popular social networks in Vietnam.
TikTok reported dramatic growth in the number of users of all generations last year. Gen Z, including those born from the late 1990s to the early 2010s, posted a growth rate of nearly 40 percent.