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It's Time to Call Out Rage Baiting on TikTok

We need to talk about rage bating in the beauty industry. Because in reality, it manipulates audiences. Rage-bating is internet gaslighting. It’s creating content that purposely enrages or shocks people so they'll interact with it. It’s causing people to think something is real when it’s not.

Rage-baiting causes people to get mad or upset about something in a video or a piece of content, and this prompts them to comment, and inevitably, this boosts engagement because the algorithm sees how the post has numerous comments. 


When the algorithm deems content to be engaging, it will promote it and make it very easy for content like this to take over your feed. It certainly takes over Cassandra’s feed sometimes, especially when she opens TikTok. And it’s probably getting worse. 


Some content like this is okay, but it can very be destructive. Viewers should be able to make conscious consumer decisions and not just be manipulated into buying or engaging in something based on shock factor. 


Cassandra thinks that rage bating can be broken down into three categories: understated, medium, and extreme. 


Understated

This could include purposefully misspelling a word, purposefully saying something incorrectly, mispronouncing it, or even doing your makeup wrong. This rage bait could slide under the radar, and it makes you wonder if it’s on purpose or a mistake. 


For instance, someone might rub the foundation all over their face or cover their faces in a product to accomplish a certain look. But, is this actually how they do their foundation every day? In the beauty industry, many brands do things like this to increase engagement, views, and ad revenue. There are a lot of brands that rage bait to sell products, but at what point does this approach become fraudulent?


If the content is misleading, meaning they never portray everyday use, doesn’t it lead customers towards expectations based on falsity? Content about a product should be educational, informative, or at least beneficial in some way. That’s why understated rage bait still needs to be called out. 


Medium rage baiting 

This includes product destruction, meaning someone is purposely destroying a product or misusing it. For example, there was a time when people were buying MAC lip glosses and purposefully breaking or misusing them.  


In turn, a lot of people started reacting to these influencers. These lip glosses were not that great, but they went viral, and people bought them because of the rage bait. To provide another example, one girl was doing a “get ready with me,” and she was pretending to cut her hair. Then, she starts cutting open her foundation, it drips onto her hand, and she starts rubbing it all over her face and shirt. 


Extreme 

This one hurts others or oneself. For example, there was actually a content creator who used the darkest shade from Youthforia that just launched, which was actually a jet-black foundation. He smeared it all over his face, and it did go viral. However, these types of things should not be actively promoted in an algorithm because, to the public, it comes off as “blackface.”

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Why would he do that… when he could have just swatched it on his hand...?

This also speaks volumes about the brands themselves. Do brands launch products like these just to get a reaction? The black shade, the darkest shade, was completely black, the shade next to it was just a light brown. But, it didn’t have any undertones the way the other shades did. The others had red and yellow undertone pigments in the ingredient list, but this one was just black pigment.


And when this content creator tried it, there was rage bait. On videos like this, people will comment, share, and engage, thereby increasing its exposure even if people don’t like it. So ultimately, it’s important to call these things out and call for a change around this culture.


Rage baiting can begin to blur the lines around what is acceptable for the sake of advertising, and we can help denormalize it by calling it out.