agosto 22

Tiktok: is it sustainable?



TikTok is the latest craze to hit the internet. It’s a social media app that allows users to create and share 15-second videos with special effects or lip-synch them to popular songs. TikTok seems like harmless fun, but it’s also very addictive. So we’ve been wondering: Is TikTok sustainable? If you’re unfamiliar with TikTok, check out our video for an overview of Tiktok and if the company is going on a sustainable path or will become just another Greenwashing brand. And before we start, don´t forget to share all your thoughts about this platform.

Where Tiktok Came From

TikTok is a Chinese app that was launched in 2016. It’s owned by Beijing ByteDance Technology Co., which also owns Musical.ly, a lip-synch app that allows users to create and share 15-second videos with special effects or lip-synch them to popular songs.

Tiktok today has more than 1.2 billion active monthly users worldwide. In 2018, the app was criticized by many media outlets and users for being a platform that facilitates child exploitation. Due to this controversy, Tiktok was banned in Indonesia and Thailand.

Where Tiktok is Hosted

The application is hosted by Amazon Web Services (AWS), meaning that it’s a cloud-based platform. This means that your data is stored on servers in remote locations.

AWS is the world’s largest provider of cloud services and a global leader in cloud computing. As a subsidiary of Amazon, AWS has been investing heavily in renewable energy initiatives to power its massive data centers. The company has already achieved its goal of powering 50% of its global infrastructure with renewable energy by 2017.

As part of their commitment to sustainability, AWS has set an ambitious goal: they aim to achieve 100% renewable energy by 2025. To do this, they’ve signed long-term power purchase agreements (PPAs) with several wind farms across North America and Europe that sell electricity at prices lower than current rates for fossil fuels or nuclear power plants. On the Amazon AWS website, we can read this statement:

“Studies by 451 Research have shown that AWS’ infrastructure is 3.6 times more energy efficient than the median of U.S. enterprise data centers surveyed and up to five times more energy efficient than the average in Europe. 451 Research also found that AWS can lower customers’ workload carbon footprints by nearly 80% compared to surveyed enterprise data centers and up to 96% once AWS is powered with 100% renewable energy—a target we’re on the path to meet by 2025.”

Tiktok Emissions

But there is not only green happiness in Tiktok´s world. Tik-Tok is an app that allows users to create and share short videos in various styles. Today it is one of the world’s most popular social media platforms. But while TikTok may appear harmless at first glance, a recent study shows that the average Tik-Tok video generates many emissions.

The study, published by the Global Digital Ecological Fund (GDEF) on March 12th, 2019, found that TikTok’s popularity has caused a huge spike in greenhouse gas emissions. The report states that TikTok videos are responsible for as much CO2 as driving 1 mile in an SUV. The GDEF estimates that over 2 million hours of user-generated content were uploaded to TikTok in 2018 alone.

A platform Which Makes People Slaves

This is another dark point of Tiktok. To keep the users returning to the platform, the app requires them to create content repeatedly throughout the day. This is because TikTok is a social media platform, and users are rewarded with tokens for creating content. The more content they create, the more tokens they get. However, it has been reported that many of these videos are created by bots or third-party apps that monetize them without providing value to their creators or viewers.

TikTok is a very addictive, stressful, and toxic app. The pressure that the app forces on users to create content multiple times a day can be very toxic and could cause many issues with mental health.

As you may have noticed, TikTok is an extremely addicting app. It’s easy to get sucked into it because of how fun and simple it is to use. Even though it’s only been around for about five years now, we see people spend hours uploading their videos or watching others’ posts on the platform.

And talking about mental health, recently, there have been many reports that TikTok could be causing depression and anxiety in users. This is because of the constant pressure to post new content as often as possible, which can be very toxic for someone who doesn’t have much time or energy to devote to social media.

Of course, this is not exclusive to Tiktok. Social media can be a huge source of anxiety and stress for people, especially if they have a lot of friends who post frequently and consistently. It’s easy to feel left out, or like you’re missing out on something when everyone else is having fun without you.

Climate Change

Tik-Tok has yet to show little change in its stance on climate change, but since its cloud partners have made improvements, we hope for more progress.

The platform’s sustainability page is vague and doesn’t detail how the company is reducing its carbon footprint other than stating that they are “committed to being energy efficient and responsible.” The page also states that Tik-Tok will be using 100% renewable energy by 2021 (which isn’t necessarily a good thing considering that it’s possible to meet this goal while continuing to emit high levels of greenhouse gases).

Tik-Tok’s commitment to transparency is also a bit lacking. In its “About Us” section, the platform states that its offices are located in San Francisco, California; Seattle, Washington; and Beijing, China. But there are no details on how these locations were chosen or what they mean for Tik-Tok’s carbon footprint.

Tik-Tok’s website is also missing any information on how it plans to reduce its carbon emissions or how much energy it uses. This makes it difficult for users to see what Tik-Tok is doing to become more environmentally friendly.

Privacy Polemics

Tiktok got problems years ago because of privacy policies. In the USA, Donald Trump made a big platform issue because he said terrorists and criminals used it. In fact, the problem with TikTok was that it had no real privacy policies, so people were posting anything they wanted on there. This created a huge headache for parents and other adults who didn’t want their kids using the app. It also made it impossible to police content because everyone could post whatever they wanted without any restrictions or limitations.

By September of 2020, the Trump administration had arranged for the parent firm of TikTok, ByteDance, to sell a small portion of the social media platform to two “very American” businesses, Oracle and Walmart, with Oracle assuming responsibility for TikTok’s US data storage. It was a bid to convince the U.S. government that it would not expose the personal information of Americans to the Chinese government.


Our conclusion is that Tik-Tok is not a sustainable app, but some of its cloud partners are. We hope that Tik-Tok will soon make similar changes and be more transparent about using renewable energy sources for its servers. Don´t forget to comment on your thoughts about Tiktok sustainability in this video. If you want to know more about the behind-the-scenes sustainability of big companies, don´t miss our latest video about Disney. Click here to watch.


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