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10 of the worst TikTok trends in 2022

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Tricia Crimmins

Internet Culture

Posted on Dec 28, 2022   Updated on Jan 3, 2023, 8:54 am CST

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year_in_review

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(In no particular order) 

1) Trends that are thinly veiled racism 

So many trends this year relied on racism, including an audio about Black men selling marijuana and a trend where white girls disavowed the days in which they appropriated aesthetics made popular by women of color. The former involved the harmful stereotype that people of color deal drugs and the latter exposed white women for making caricatures of women of color. 


2) Medical professionals making fun of patients via TikTok

Workers turn to TikTok to lament about their on-the-job frustrations all the time, but the internet made it clear this year that nurses and doctors ridiculing patients for their pain tolerance is insensitive and cruel. In September, a physician made light of how many patients tell her that they need painkillers stronger than over-the-counter options. And this month, a group of nurses were fired from their jobs after joking about how some pregnant people refuse an epidural even though they’re in intense pain. 


3) Filming service workers for viral view counts

TikTok and content creation has become a career for many, but in the pursuit of views, some TikTokers have turned to filming service workers while they’re at work. And those seemingly harmless videos can have consequences for whoever is captured in them. 


4) TikTok filters that don’t work for everybody’s skin tone 

FYI, TikTok filters aren’t made by the app itself—they’re submitted by TikTok users. And many of the filters attempt to look realistic by adding makeup, freckles, and/or changing one’s hair color aren’t made for all skin tones. Such filters don’t show up on darker skin tones, which not only excludes TikTokers of color, but it communicates that their physical appearance wasn’t considered when the filter was being made.


5) TikTok’s hooked nose filter

While some might have thought that TikTok’s hooked nose filter (which now seems to have been removed from the app) was made to make people look like a witch with a pointed nose, many pointed out that it allowed TikTokers to make fun of people who have hooked noses, like Jewish, Middle Eastern, and/or African people.


6) Using TikTok audios created by people in crisis

Unfortunately, TikTok audios created by Gabbie Hanna during a manic episode she experienced in August were all over the app, and many went viral—a clip of Hanna screaming “help me” has been used in over 43,000 TikTok videos

During her manic episode, Hanna posted over 100 TikTok videos, some of which included offensive remarks—which shouldn’t be excused by her struggles. But many TikTokers didn’t feel that making light of Hanna’s cries for help was fair, either.


7) “Fruity” audios utilized for homophobia

2022 seemed to be the year of queer people using audios about queerness to make jokes about themselves and their community, while people outside the queer community used those same audios to be homophobic

How can I be homophobic, my bitch is gay,” “this one has a little sweetness to it,” and “this is definitely fruity” went viral with queer TikTokers and non-queer TikTokers alike, but weren’t always used to uplift the LGBTQ+ community. The TikTok sounds were used to ridicule and look down on men for displaying behavior traditionally considered feminine—which is homophobic. 


8) The “brutally molested by sixteen autistic clowns” audio

In August, a TikTok audio joking about someone being “brutally molested by sixteen autistic clowns” went viral. The original audio was ridiculing fear-mongering within Christianity, but the context doesn’t excuse the awfulness of the phrase. Autistic TikTokers called out the sound for being ableist and talked about how hurtful it was to be the butt of such a cruel joke. 


9) Fatphobic TikTok filters

Among filters that slim TikTokers faces, some filters are more blatantly fatphobic. Two that went viral this past year come to mind: a filter that enlarges someone’s face and gives them a double chin, and a filter that purports to list users’ most used apps that assigned food-related apps to fat and plus-sized people. Both made light of people in larger bodies, and the latter was removed from the app. 


10) Moms joking about flirting with their sons’ friends

You would think that middle-aged women would think twice before posting about flirting with their children’s friends—even if they’re joking. But multiple times this year, moms went viral for saying that they dressed in more form fitting outfits when their sons’ friends are at their houses. 

Luckily, both women went viral because people called them out for what they were implying. One of the women has now deleted her video.

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*First Published: Dec 28, 2022, 6:00 am CST