We Are Paying Off Each Other's Debts TikTok Trend

We Are Paying Off Each Other's Debts TikTok Trend

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We Are Paying Off Each Other's Debts TikTok Trend refers to a viral movement in which TikTok users gave each other views as an act of charity, seeking to use the platform's monetization program to turn their engagement into money for users who wanted to pay off their debts. The movement was framed as a collective action, with users posting videos that they would monetize and calculating the number of views they would need in order to fully repay their debt.


Schemes to do "follow trains," in which groups of everyday users agree to follow one another in order to increase the overall number of people following their accounts, have existed across social media for years. But the catchphrase "we're paying off each other's debts on this app" went viral on TikTok in May of 2024.

Videos participating in the trend usually featured users asking for a follow so they could reach a high enough follower count (10,000) to qualify for the TikTok Creator Fund and then get money from receiving views on videos. They also asked for people to watch their videos for more than five seconds in order to juice the video's viral spread through the algorithm, and for users to interact by commenting, liking, saving and reposting. Creators also spoke about watching and engaging with other videos in the trend, seeing it as a form of mutual aid and collective action.

The earliest very prominent video in the trend appeared to be the one on May 18th (seen below left) by TikTok[1] user @___isaiah which received over 9.9 million views and 1.8 million likes over the course of two weeks. TikToker[2] @yolanda_capricorn made one of the most popular videos participating in the trend, the sound of which was later excerpted and added to other videos. Her post, also from May 18th, received over 276,000 likes and 2.2 million views in the course of two weeks.



The trend continued to see viral spread in the days and weeks that followed. Many characterized it as a kind of social movement. TikTok[3] user @javadadlife, for example, posted the video (seen below, left) on May 19th encouraging others to send him their videos so he could repost them. His post received over 576,000 likes and 3.9 million views over the course of two weeks. Many users made videos sharing personal stories of financial hardship, including @carolyntrying whose video (seen below, right) featured her talking about how "I did everything I was supposed to do growing up, everything that America told me to do to be successful" but still ended up in financial trouble, unable to get ahead, and earned over 275,000 likes and 1.2 million views in two weeks.[4]


Outlets like USA Today and Yahoo covered the trend in the weeks to follow.[5][6]

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