What happened:

According to a BBC investigation, displaced families in Syrian camps are pleading for donations on TikTok while the corporation keeps up to 70% of the money. On the social networking platform, kids spend hours live streaming while appealing for digital gifts with a monetary value. The BBC discovered that while streams were making up to $1,000 (£900) per hour, the individuals living in the camps were only receiving a small fraction of it.


The BBC discovered that the “TikTok middlemen,” who gave families the phones and equipment to go live, were facilitating the trend in the camps in north-western Syria. The middlemen claimed they prefer to use British SIM cards since the TikTok algorithm proposes content based on the country’s origin of a user’s phone number. The UK population is reputed to be the most generous.

TikTok’s statement:

TikTok declined to disclose how much it took in gifts, so the BBC conducted an experiment to see where the money went.

What else:

One of the TikTok-affiliated media outlets received a call from a reporter in Syria who claimed to be residing in the camps. While BBC employees in London sent TikTok presents totaling $106 from another account, he opened an account and went live. The Syrian test account had a balance of $33 at the conclusion of the webcast while 69% of the value had been seized by TikTok.