TikTok like cocaine, could ‘ruin’ internet: Wall Street analysts

So can we all finally agree that listening to sped-up Abba songs is as bad as using crack?

Wall Street analysts released a detailed report on the ever so popular video app TikTok and its effects on users, comparing its addictiveness to that of the heavy narcotic, Business Insider reported.

Analysts at Bernstein Research wrote that TikTok gives off a “sensory rush of bite-sized videos…the algorithm pushed the most viral content directly to the user delivering endorphin hit after hit with each swipe.”

“Cocaine’s effects take time to set in, while Crack’s effect is instantaneous but wears off quickly driving the user to seek another ‘hit’. Crack is incredibly addictive.”

The metaphorical cocaine — which comes from other platforms such as Facebook — is “the friction of deciding what to watch and ‘boring’ status update images,” according to the analysis.

Along with the addictive analogy, the Wall Streeters also put out a research note titled “Has TikTok Ruined the Internet?” It was in reference to the many quick vertical video copy cats to launch in recent years, such as Instagram’s reels — a platform which caught backlash from users and celebrities.

TikTok can be addictive like drugs, researchers warn.
TikTok can be addictive like drugs, researchers warn.
Getty Images

Amazon is also testing out a TikTok style feed, TechCrunch reported.

While the Bernstein crew did note they don’t sincerely believe TikTok will become fatal like crack, they did emphasize that the comparison to its addictiveness is an apt one that shows the major success of the app and how it can affect the digital world financially.

Although Business Insider reports that short-form video has had limited success with monetization, there is substantial user attention being caught.

TikTok is predicted to take 16% of global digital spending and Facebook (Instagram’s parent company) is reporting that Reels make up a quarter of total time spent on the app, according to the outlet.

TikTok has set a course being modeled by many other social media sites.
TikTok has set a course being modeled by many other social media sites.
dpa/picture alliance via Getty I

In YouTube’s case, they implemented the quick form style under the name Shorts in 2020 and now have 1.5 billion viewers watching 30 Billion Shorts monthly.

Though, analysts warn of a downside as well because of the internet’s “evolve or die” ways. Further losses of viewers attention span may “structurally dilute the monetization of user time across the digital ads industry” moving forward.

If the tech titans can’t figure out how to make users directly engage more on the advertorial side of short form, “the consequences could be severe.”

Until then though, Bernstein is anticipating much of social media to convert towards short-form video, even conventional news feed sites such as Facebook.


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