Woman calls out TikTok for becoming a ‘dystopian’ merchandising landscape

@gracejohanna/TikTok nikkimeel/ShutterStock (Licensed)

‘Why does it look like SHEIN and AliExpress had a baby?’: Woman calls out TikTok for becoming a ‘dystopian’ merchandising landscape

‘Almost every video is an ad now.’


Braden Bjella


Ever since TikTok debuted its shopping experience, users have become concerned about the over-commercialization of the platform.

At first, many simply complained about the prevalence of ads on the app. Then, health professionals began speaking out against TikTok Shop sellers, alleging that users were marketing products with dubious or unproven health claims. There have also been issues with fake products being distributed, either knowingly or unknowingly, through the app, with one notable case being a TikToker who was banned after accidentally selling viewers fake Stanley cups.

TikTok users are fed up. Now, in a video with over 1.1 million views as of Friday, a TikTok user is calling out the current state of the app, dubbing the present browsing experience “dystopian.”

“What is going on with this app? Why does it look like SHEIN and AliExpress had a baby?” asks TikTok user Grace Johanna (@gracejohanna). “There’s links everywhere. There’s a hundred ads. Why is there 17-year-old girls trying to sell me 35-cent ring lights being like, ‘You guys have to get this. It’s amazing?’”

“And y’all are falling for it! You’re commenting!” she continues.

According to Johanna, the problems extend beyond commercialization. She says that the NPC trend has become too popular; that certain creators, such as Jason Nash, are featured too prominently; and that comedy and “truth” have taken a backseat to other content.

“I’m getting freaked out,” she summarizes.

Johanna is a prominent TikTok user, having previously gone viral after recounting her experience with the Starbucks Pay-It-Forward trend.

This video from Johanna about TikTok itself struck a chord with users, who turned to the comments section to share their own issues with the platform.

“Tik tok shop is literally 1/3 of the videos I see. And I haven’t bought a single thing and skip them,” detailed a user. “The algorithm does not care.”

“No like I’ve actually decreased my tiktok screen time by like 80% since everyone started posting tiktok shop links constantly,” offered another.

“I literally have to scroll through 3-4 ads/tiktok shop links to watch 1 normal tiktok,” alleged a third.

Some users stated their belief that over-commercialization may spell the end of the platform.

“FR didn’t tiktok learn from instagram that turning a social media app into one big advertising and shopping app is gonna lead to its downfall,” asked a commenter.

“I literally just said to my friend i feel like tik toks downfall is gonna be the tik tok shop,” recalled a second.

The Daily Dot reached out to Grace Johanna via email.

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