Kayla Christine Long, 17, did not give particular thought to posting a video to TikTok on New Year's Eve saying that all she had consumed that day was a jug of ice water. She hashtagged it "#whatieatinaday."
It was the kind of video she often saw and interacted with on the platform from young women who wanted to lose weight, something she said she's seen even more of during the coronavirus pandemic, NBC News reports. When it started in the U.S. in March, Long said she began to see lots of "thinspo" posts on TikTok — shorthand for "thin inspiration."
"Everyone has so much free time now and wants to get in shape, so creators are promoting very unhealthy habits," she said.
U.S. & World
Long's video amassed 2 million views before she deleted it a week later. The next month, Long was diagnosed with an eating disorder and sent to a treatment center. She said that TikTok, along with other influences on social media like Instagram and Snapchat, had pushed her to restrict her food intake over the past year.
Long is not alone. Seven women in their teens and 20s told NBC News that the content they viewed on TikTok had pushed them to fixate more on their diets and exercise regimens to a dangerous extent. And experts who study eating disorders say the social dynamics on the app mirror the problems found in recent years on other platforms.
Read the full story on NBCNews.com