TikTok has been the subject of plenty of controversy in recent months, including a contentious ban throughout the state of Montana and a heated debate over how governments should best regulate the app and its users’ personal data. But controversies over TikTok itself are only one part of the picture; dig deeply enough, and you can also find some contentious personalities making a home for themselves on the app.
As Flora Gill writes in a new article for Air Mail, among the controversial figures with a presence on TikTok is one Orenthal James Simpson. Simpson’s account, as of this writing, has over 280,000 followers — which is significantly smaller than, say, Selena Gomez’s TikTok following, but still represents a quarter of a million accounts. As Gill points out, Simpson’s account has featured commentary on everything from Jeffrey Dahmer to various effects filters available on the platform.
The Air Mail article focuses on an account with the username @looseyjuicyy; there’s also another Simpson-related account that can be found on TikTok at @theofficalojsimpson. Gill points out that the former is not listed as verified, which doesn’t rule out the possibility that 280,000 people are instead following someone capable of simulating Simpson’s face and voice.
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Gill also notes that Simpson is only one of a number of controversial (and, in some cases, formerly incarcerated) people who have drawn significant followings on social media. “[W]e should think carefully about whether we’re happy putting change in certain people’s pockets,” she writes — and points out that she feels comfortable following Amanda Knox in a way that she doesn’t when it comes to Simpson.
The decision to follow (or not follow) a controversial person on social media can cross over into complex territory. Still, as the thousands of people subscribed to Simpson’s account on TikTok (and his Twitter account, for that matter) demonstrate, everyone has a different standard when it comes to clicking the “follow” button.
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