India is often called the world capital for selfie deaths but another social media fad is proving just as dangerous. While making a TikTok video, a third-year Microbiology student from Andhra Pradesh got lost in a forest while trying to find his way back home.
21-year-old Murali of Kalkada went to Seshachalam forest in the southern part of Andhra Pradesh on July 28. A student of a private educational institution near Tirupati, he chose to hoist the Indian flag atop a hillock. After reportedly trekking throughout the afternoon, he made a video of unfurling and saluting the tricolour to post on the video-sharing platform.
However, on his way back, he got lost in the forest and by the evening his phone got discharged as well. Minutes before his phone switched off, he had sent his location to a friend who alerted Murali’s parents and the police. The police reportedly trekked all night and reached the location where they found Murali in a dehydrated state and shifted him to a hospital. According to the police, the Seshachalam hills is a protected forest and is home to wildlife including leopards.
Dangerous ways to get fame
Earlier this month, a 20-year-old college student from Karnataka drowned while shooting a TikTok video. According to the police, she accidentally slipped into the pond while enacting a scene from a movie. Last month, a 12-year-old boy from Kota hung himself from a noose as part of a TikTok challenge. A youth recently died after drowning in a stream of floodwater while filming a TikTok video in Darbhanga, Bihar. The youth and his friends were performing stunts while diving into the stream.
Running after ‘likes’
Tamil Nadu recently removed the Chinese video-sharing app from Google PlayStore after Madras High Court banned it keeping in mind the recent deaths of adventurers attempting to create sensational videos. The state’s chief minister E K Palaniswami said,
“Youngsters do not know the danger behind TikTok. The app has caused deaths and has affected lives.”
While Instagram is experimenting on hiding the ‘likes’, TikTok allows users to gain millions of followers and ‘likes’ by generating short-form mobile videos, many of which are often lip-syncing videos. According to the app’s global marketing head Stefan Henriquez, Artificial Intelligence learns and serves the user more content based on how long someone watches a video or if they like it. He told PRWeek,
“People watch based on their own interests, not based on what their friends like or who they follow or who they pretend to be and how they want to be perfect like other social media sites.”
The app also reportedly features ‘stars’ who scam teenage fans by enabling those with 1,000 followers or more to hold livestreams.