The School Newspaper of Cherry Hill High School East


The School Newspaper of Cherry Hill High School East


The School Newspaper of Cherry Hill High School East


The TikTok Shop offers suspicious benefits

Katie Sullivan (’25)

From brick and mortar shops to online interfaces, the way we shop has transformed as technology evolves. Now, the window shopping of the past has become a tap on a screen, as many social media platforms have developed features that allow users to shop directly from their apps. From Instagram’s Shop to Snapchat’s Snap Shop, the TikTok Shop has been the newest successful surge.

Since September of 2023, TikTok users have been targeted through subtle ads as they scroll on the app. Seemingly watching a normal review video or daily routine, a link above the video-maker’s username takes users directly to a product being actively discussed, or some- times, not mentioned in the video at all. For those easily influenced, this convenient in-app marketplace offers alluring benefits like instant purchases at reduced prices.

Are the “60% off coupons” for products personally used and advertised by “real” people actually real?

While the TikTok Shop creates an easy way for businesses to advertise and sell their products, the app does not go in-depth about the workings of the Shop. Users do not get insight into where the products are exactly coming from, how TikTok is able to give all its users coupons on products, and the benefits TikTok Creators are getting from sales made through links placed on their videos.

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Concerns have arisen regarding privacy regulations of the Shop, as users do not want to disclose private information to unbeknownst sellers. This has even continued the concern of some United States lawmakers who see TikTok as a potential national security threat. While TikTok claims to review all of its sellers, aiming to ban counterfeit and fake products, complaints have surfaced after receiving fake items. The possible inability and challenge of identifying sellers in the case of a scam is another source of worry.

Most TikTok makers with product links in their videos do so for their own self-benefit, sometimes to support their own e-commerce business, and other times to make a commission. Anyone who is a TikTok affiliate can receive a commission if a user makes a purchase through the link in their video. Oftentimes, a TikTok affiliate can apply to partner directly with a business or are approached by a business for the opportunity to advertise their products. To qualify, one must be over the age of 18 and have posted a video over the past 30 days. While a certain number of followers is required, different news outlets and websites state different follower minimums, from 1,000 to 5,000, showing the lack of clarity in the process.

Users are constantly exposed to marketing strategies through live streams, videos and the showcase tab under others’ account pages. In addition, the “Shop” tab can be found on the top of the screen, which leads to a direct marketplace. There, users have access to trending products, daily deals and “recommended for you” sales. While these tempting sales may lead to fake products, East students have had success in purchasing off the app.

“I’ve bought from the TikTok shop multiple times and have never received fake products,” said Brad Hendricks (‘26) regarding products such as his Stanley water bottle and tote bag.

“If you really check the reviews, you’ll most likely get a good product,” Hendricks added.

The shift to online shopping has had its consequences, but time can only tell what the future holds for the TikTok Shop.

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About the Contributor
Ella Hampton
Ella Hampton, Eastside Culture Editor
Ella Hampton is a senior and an Eastside Culture Editor. At East, she is on the tennis team and is a SGA representative, a peer leader, the Social Studies Honor Society President, and more. She also enjoys working on expanding her club, Camden Connections. Ella enjoys spending her free time listening to music, traveling, and being around friends and family.

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