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  • Laura Rincon

The Impact of TikTok on the Sensationalization of True Crime

True crime has been a popular genre for decades, with books, podcasts, and documentaries exploring the darkest corners of human behaviour. However, in recent years, social media has given rise to a new form of true crime content, with platforms like TikTok providing a new way for creators to share stories of real-life crimes.

While TikTok can be a powerful tool for educating people about the realities of crime and criminal justice, it can also contribute to the sensationalization of true crime, potentially glorifying violent and heinous acts.

One of the ways that TikTok has impacted the true crime genre is by providing a platform for amateur sleuths to share their theories and speculations about ongoing cases. While this can be helpful in some cases, it can also lead to false information being spread and innocent people being accused. Additionally, TikTok's algorithmic recommendations can lead users down a rabbit hole of increasingly sensational content, potentially desensitizing viewers to the realities of crime and violence.

TikTok has also been criticized for the way it treats victims of crime. Some creators have been accused of exploiting victims and their families for views and likes, creating a sense of voyeurism that can be unsettling. Additionally, some creators have been known to profit off true crime content, using sensational headlines and clickbait titles to generate revenue from ads.

Another impact of TikTok on the sensationalization of true crime is how it can contribute to the fetishization of violent criminals. Some creators on the platform have developed cult-like followings for notorious serial killers, creating content that glorifies their crimes and romanticizes their actions. This can be dangerous, as it can create a culture where violent behaviour is seen as cool or desirable.

Despite these concerns, there is also a potential upside to the true crime content on TikTok. When approached responsibly and ethically, true crime can be a powerful tool for education and advocacy. For example, some creators use the platform to raise awareness about cold cases or highlight criminal justice system issues. Others use true crime content to encourage viewers to donate to organizations supporting crime victims.

Overall, it is clear that TikTok has had a significant impact on the true crime genre, both positive and negative. While it can be a powerful tool for education and advocacy, it can also contribute to sensationalizing crime and glorifying violent behaviour. As with any form of media, creators and viewers alike need to approach true crime content on TikTok with a critical eye and a sense of responsibility.


Berry, K. (2021, January 13). The true crime problem with TikTok's serial killer trend. NBC News.

Kennedy, G. (2021, January 21). TikTok is the new frontier of true-crime content, but the moral implications are murky. Insider.

Thomson, S. (2021, January 29). How TikTok became a true-crime powerhouse. BBC.

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