TikTok has seen its Play Store rating plummet to two stars as a flurry of low reviews landed over the past 24 hours. Despite reviews citing issues with the app’s algorithm and content, the real reason for the poor rating is linked to culture wars, fanboys and disturbing viral videos. Settle in, because the story of TikTok’s sudden fall from grace isn’t a short one.
There’s an ongoing battle between TikTok and YouTube in India, which allegedly started when influencer Amir Siddiqui posted a video on TikTok saying that the platform was was better than YouTube. Amir has since deleted the video, but it sparked a war between the platforms’ fans, which eventually resulted in a YouTube influencer putting out a roast in response.
Enter the ring: CarryMinati. On May 8, Carry published a video called “YouTube vs TikTok: The End” that royally took the mick out of Amir Siddiqi. It was wildly popular, becoming the most-liked video in India, but the platform pulled it down.
It’s not clear why YouTube decided that the video violated its community rules, but the most popular theory is that the video constituted cyber-bullying and harassment. Republic World has also reported that the video contained homophobic slurs, so it could have also been pulled for this reason.
Either way, it wasn’t a popular move among Carry’s fans. Their response? Take out a bit of their anger on the TikTok app rating. The app was already suffering because of the ongoing culture war between the platforms, but now Carry’s fans started to increase their attempts to get the TikTok rating down.
But the controversy doesn’t end there. Another influencer has also has a role to play in this debacle: Faizal Siddiqui.
Recognised that name? Faizal is the brother of Amir, who (arguably) started the war between YouTube and TikTok. Faizal is pretty popular in his own right on TikTok – or at least he was until he posted a recent controversial video on the platform.
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That video shows Faizal pretending to confront a woman who has betrayed him. He throws a glass of clear liquid at the woman, whose face is then shown behind a splattering of make-up that looks a lot like acid scars.
There’s been a huge backlash against this, and public figures have condemned the video, saying it glorifies acid attacks. TikTok reacted by banning Faizal from the platform, stating that he had violated multiple community guidelines.
But the online community in India still weren’t satisfied, citing previous examples of poor taste videos that had been posted on the app. This is where the latest flurry of bad reviews comes in, with multiple citizens leaving bad reviews and encouraging others to do so.
We won’t know how this affects user figures for a while, as negative reviews don’t reflect these statistics. And it’s not clear if the sudden influx of poor reviews is directly related to the tasteless video, or if CarryMinati loyalists have co-opted the movement.
What is clear is that India has grown a sudden distaste for the platform – and the shine has certainly been taken off TikTok because of this latest storm. We’ve reached out to the company for comment and will update this piece with the response.