The Two “Sides” of TikTok
The side of TikTok that is usually highlighted in media — dancing influencers like Charli D’Amelio, or viral trends like the “Don’t Leave Me” challenges — is called “Straight TikTok.” Despite what “Straight” implies, the difference between the two sides of TikTok isn’t solely about the LGBT community.
Straight TikTok is considered ordinary, expected, “vanilla” compared to Alt TikTok.
@charlidamelio be happy music video out now link in bio dc @haleygilchrist_ 💕💕
♬ Be Happy – Dixie D’Amelio
Alt TikTok offers underground, often bizarre trends usually not seen on Straight TikTok, as well as videos dedicated to trolling and mocking Straight TikTok users. They also often congratulate users on making it onto this Elite side of TikTok, which creates a kind of club mentality. Because of that, those who identify with Alt TikTok are often accused of “gatekeeping” their side of TikTok. This is not really accurate.
While everything is on the same TikTok platform, no group of users can prevent someone from seeing or contributing videos. A person’s own interactions influence the app’s algorithm to suggest content from either “side.”
Trends of Alt TikTok
Within Alt TikTok, there are subgroups. There’s the “beans TikTok,” which often involves videos using audio of a voice repeating “beans” over and over again. There are also users that choose to “stan,” or worship, an unconventional figure: Hannah Montana actor Jason Earles, Danny Devito, and so on.
Also typical to this side of TikTok: frogs, singing about strawberry cows, mobile app Subway Surfers, and an excessive amount of fairy and sparkle emojis. The more eccentric a video is, the more likely it fits into this side of TikTok.
A prime example of humor typical to Alt TikTok:
@buttpoopphart w҉o҉a҉h҉ 😅 ##alt ##alttiktok ##deep ##deeptiktok ##SupportSmallBiz
♬ original sound – emilynoelletilton
For all its oddities and pushes against the mainstream, Alt TikTok has been in the media for their political ties. Most recently, they have taken to trolling President Donald Trump and his 2020 campaign.
First, users banded together to make fake reservations for Trump’s Tulsa rally in order to leave the auditorium empty. Next, they rallied together to practice shopping cart abandonment at Trump’s online store to make items appear as sold out and hurt his campaign financially.
Most recently, in response to a possible US ban on TikTok, users gave the Trump 2020 campaign app a one-star rating in hopes of getting it pulled down off Google Play and Apple Store. While that’s not how those systems work, the app’s rank did plummet, proving that these TikTokers are a force both online and in the real world.
What Is Alt TikTok — Sources
The Guardian — What Is Elite TikTok