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@much_joy/TikTok @butlerdarren/TikTok @veteran.chris/TikTok

FictionalTok is a perplexing, ethical enigma

When isolated, the narratives on FictionalTok fall apart and veer uncanny.


Daysia Tolentino

Internet Culture

Posted on Sep 30, 2021   Updated on Jul 26, 2023, 6:15 pm CDT


This story was originally published on Passionfruit.

A big part of our job as internet culture writers and editors is to suss out false stories on TikTok. Like the rest of the internet, it is full of fake news, influencers lying for clout, and comedy skits that people take 100% seriously. It can be especially difficult to tell what’s fake when someone is telling a personal story because sometimes truth is stranger than fiction.

But FictionalTok is just strange. Scrolling through the #fictional hashtag on TikTok, many of the videos are from BookTok and highlight folks’ favorite literature. But among the book recommendations are videos made by actors who are pretending to be different people documenting their lives and the drama they endure. Most of these accounts assert they are fictional in their bios or by using the #fictional hashtag (although, not all of these videos are clearly marked). But their content is made as if they are the real person, and, out of context, it can be confusing and misleading.

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*First Published: Sep 30, 2021, 6:00 am CDT