TikTok Can Stay, Thanks to Oracle and Walmart

Earlier today, Chinese tech giant ByteDance put out a statement addressing rumors that TikTok would become predominantly American-owned, as both Oracle and Walmart said when they announced the deal.

Related | TikTok Is Suing the Trump Administration

Rather, TikTok Global, a new US-based company aimed at keeping the app up and running, will be ByteDance’s “100% owned subsidiary” and will drop to 80% after some financing before the new company goes public.

However, Walmart and Oracle have said TikTok Global would be “majority owned by American investors” with both companies taking a combined 20% stake — complying with Trump’s Executive Order — allowing the app to remain active in the US. The companies would pay a total of $12 billion if they agree to the $60 billion valuation ByteDance seeks for TikTok, according to Bloomberg News.

Though they’re only working for that 20% stake now, both companies said TikTok Global’s American ownership would “increase and grow over time,” following its first public offering on a US stock exchange, which is expected to take place within a year.

Other American investors, including Silicon Valley-based Sequoia Capital and buyout firm General Atlantic, already own around 40% of ByteDance.

Ken Glueck, Oracle’s executive vice president, said “Upon creation of TikTok Global, Oracle/ Walmart will make their investment and the TikTok Global shares will be distributed to their owners, Americans will be the majority and ByteDance will have no ownership in TikTok Global.”

Though ByteDance hasn’t issued a direct response regarding TikTok Global’s ownership, the company said it hopes “to reach a cooperation agreement that meets the legal requirements of the United States and China as soon as possible.”

Those plans may come to a halt, according to certain sources. Hu Xijin, editor in chief of the Global Times, said Beijing won’t approve of the deal between ByteDance and Oracle/ Walmart as the agreement could “endanger” China.

Based on what I know, Beijing won’t approve current agreement between ByteDance, TikTok’s parent company, and Oracl… https://t.co/o4EVVRCkSw — Hu Xijin 胡锡进 (@Hu Xijin 胡锡进)1600696345.0

The deal doesn’t involve any technology-transfers, but provided the transaction goes through, Oracle would be able to review the app’s source code.

Photo via Getty/ Sean Gallup

Greyson Chance Wants to Hear Your Stories of ‘Triumph’ on TikTok

Greyson Chance is hoping to bring some light to 2020 with a new TikTok challenge for his fans. Inspired by his latest single, “Bad to Myself,” which sees the queer musician opening up about his struggles with anorexia, Chance is encouraging others to use the TikTok sound to share their own personal stories of “triumph.”

Related | Boots on the Ground With Greyson Chance

Chance announced the challenge last week using the hashtags #BadToMyself and #ImNotGoingBack. “Last month I put out my brand new single called ‘Bad To Myself,’ which was fully inspired by my ongoing battle with anorexia,” he said on TikTok. “It was the first time I ever talked publicly about my eating disorder, and since the song has come out I’ve been so encouraged by similar stories of struggle and triumph.”

@greyson_chance

tell me your story of triumph , and let’s spread some light in this crazy world 💕💓💕💓💕 ##BadToMyself ##ImNotGoingBack ##GreysonChance ##fyp

♬ Bad To Myself – Greyson Chance

The Portraits musician kickstarted things with his own story of success, detailing the challenges he faced as a young, viral singer famous for singing Lady Gaga’s “Paparazzi” at a school talent show. “I was dropped by my record label when I was 16 and was told that I would only be known as ‘the Gaga kid,'” Chance shared, admitting that he quit music for a few years. “But then, I put my head down and got to work.” He concluded, “Never give up on yourself.”

@greyson_chance

message of the day : never give up on yourself 💙 ##BadToMyself ##ImNotGoingBack ##greysonchance ##fyp

♬ Bad To Myself – Greyson Chance

Since then, several fans have joined in, detailing their stories of discovering self-worth and navigating mental health issues. “I’m throwing my tears to the fire,” Chance sings on the Teddy Geiger-produced pop-rock track. “Lately, I’m so damn tired/ Of being bad to myself.”

@hamzahthefantastic

Thanks to y’all I’m a better version of myself 😁 ##badtomyself ##imnotgoingback ##ad

♬ Bad To Myself – Greyson Chance
@devincaherly

Always keep a positive energy and keep improving. What have y’all been struggling with? ##ImNotGoingBack ##BadToMyself ##ad

♬ Bad To Myself – Greyson Chance
@maddytaylor

Let the past be the past. You are bigger than your obstacles. Join the challenge. You are loved. ##imnotgoingback ##badtomyself @greysonchance ##partner

♬ Bad To Myself – Greyson Chance

“Bad to Myself” follows the release of “Dancing Next to Me,” two singles that will appear on Chance’s next studio album.

“‘Bad To Myself’ is truly me at my most vulnerable,” he said in a statement. “I wrote the song with Teddy Geiger last August, which found me in the middle of an exhausting tour schedule; I think I was rounding my 100th show of 2019 around that period. At that time, I was very unhealthy: drinking too much on the road, not eating, not taking care of myself, and especially not checking in on my mental health.”

Chance continued, saying the song “represents a promise to myself that I would do better and work on becoming more healthy. ‘Bad To Myself’ helped me immensely get out of that period of my life, and I hope it helps to raise internal conversations with my fans about their own health, both mental and physical.”

Stream “Bad to Myself,” below, and follow Greyson Chance on TikTok.

Photography: Broderick Baumann

PAPER People: @pashtitutee

For most of 2020, our world has been reduced to the experiences we have on our phones. And TikTokers have been leading the charge in creating viral entertainment that keeps us scrolling for hours and hours. So this year’s PAPER People shifts its focus exclusively to TikTok — the breakout app our President wanted to ban, that launched sleeper hits and massive pop careers, that ushered in an entirely new generation of influence. Meet our 20 favorites across comedy, fashion, social justice and more, who are owning their spaces and racking in millions of likes. (And follow PAPER on TikTok).

Related | PAPER People 2020: Meet 20 TikTokers We Love

Pasha Mottley AKA @pashtitutee is master of the random cut. Her channel is hard to summarize: you kind of just have to head there and start watching. A series of comedy skits about what happens when a group of barbie dolls is left alone… her casually buying nacho Lunchables at Wawa with the sound of children screaming in the background… doing a unique impression of Jason Derulo on all fours on her bedroom floor. It’s relatable content, if you’re an internet freak. But super fun to watch either way.

@papermagazine

Introducing our class of 2020 PAPER People exclusively on TikTok💕 Say hiiii to @pashtitutee ✨💋

♬ original sound – 🙂

Do You Qualify to Be a Company’s Chief Meme Officer?

It’s hard to deny that memes have become the de facto mode of online communication. After all, whether we’re talking about a shitpost or something that contributes to a larger cultural discussion, it’s safe to say that everyone loves a good meme, including many smaller businesses hoping to get the word out about their products (or politicians campaigning for election). That said, for better or worse, this development has apparently lent itself to the rise of a new C-level position in the tech sphere: The Chief Meme Officer.

Exactly what it sounds like, a Chief Meme Officer is an internet-savvy content creator who’s been hired by a company with the intention of establishing a strategic brand persona in order to communicate their values and beliefs to consumers, as well as signal to new hires that they have a great internal work culture.

Related | The Meme Illuminati: Behind Instagram’s Comedy Empire

“In the past six months, start-ups and big companies have begun hiring for this new role,” as Brianne Kimmel — founder of Worklife and advisor to the meme-based Eye Mouth Eye tech movement — explained. “Companies are now taking memes more seriously. There’s now pressure for them to take a political stance. There’s more pressure for companies to have personality and to have an employer brand, where people know exactly what the company stands for and what it’s like to work there.”

However, according to Kimmel — whose company is the first venture capital firm designed for content creators, streamers and builders — the role is different from a traditional social media or community manager in the sense that a CMO tends to be someone who already has an established personal brand presence, rather than an agency-sourced creative.

Me applying for the role of “Chief Meme Officer” in 2020 https://t.co/3YNAcHNLoy — ben lol (@ben lol)1600289875.0

But what exactly does that mean? Well, basically, if you’re an independently popular content creator with a built-in fanbase, you can likely expect a lot of new companies to start sliding into your DMs with job offers pretty soon.

“[CMOs] are individuals who are growing in popularity online, and already have a real reliability and alignment in a specific ecosystem. It’s happening a lot in the tech and Girls Who Code worlds,” Kimmel said. “They’re individuals with more followers than the company itself, and they’re these known entities because they are creating videos or because they have their own personal brand. So they actually start to attract customers.”

Related | Everyone’s Obsessed With the ‘Which Are You’ Memes

And per Kimmel, the trend is only going to keep growing in a world where everything’s quickly becoming fully remote, especially since that only makes the ability to create funny, relatable online content all the more important.

“We’re starting to see people who are really great self-taught comedians on Twitter or people who are really great at identifying trending things being quickly picked up by start-ups,” she added. “And you’re actually able to create your own career path. It’s different from joining a bigger company because you can create your own content, set your own schedule and you kind of become the face of that company.”

Login • Instagram

Case and point is content creator Adrienne Young, who was hired by Mos — a company that helps students find financial aid for college — from making viral videos on TikTok.

According to Young, her job at the company entails “educating Gen Z on a topic they should know more about, especially as the student loan debt crisis is becoming a bigger and bigger problem” via memes and humor. And that means spending most of her days “coming up with Twitter memes and little skits that are funny on TikTok that’ll resonate and get the point across to Gen Z about why it’s important to look for financial aid.”

Related | PAPER People 2020: Meet 20 TikTokers We Love

However, Young never actually planned to get into social media. Rather, doing things like “making random fancams” and making memes was just something she did in her spare time for her personal accounts. Much to her surprise, her hobby has since led to a near-constant onslaught of job offers through Twitter.

“I never thought it would translate to my work and my professional life,” she said. “But more and more now, I’m seeing how important it is for brands to connect to audiences using humor. I’ve found that it’s become [essential] to use memes in my work to make it more relatable.”

[twitter_embed https://www.twitter.com/budlight/status/1297195802562109440 expand=1]

Granted, as Young went on to explain, it’s also important to be careful of overdoing it — lest you become one of those brands who try to stay relevant by using heavy-handed memes that end up coming off as cringy, tonedeaf or just outright insensitive.

“Gen Z has a really big ‘no bullshit’ meter, so it’s really easy for them to sense when a brand isn’t being authentic or trying too hard,” she explained, before pointing toward the way some companies “miss the mark because they think ‘this thing is trending, I need to hop on it right now,’ even when the connection doesn’t make sense for them.”

Related | How a TikTok Cult Leader Reclaimed Online Trolling

Underscoring the importance of hiring someone who’s already clued into internet culture, Young said “some brands sound either very robotic or some of them miss the mark and they try too hard… and then might get into a meme a little too late and use it wrong. It’s all about experimenting, but it’s also about understanding meme culture and how memes are used to figure out if that meme is the right one for you to use as a brand.”

That said, in her opinion, the good thing about the rise of the CMO is that it’s no longer a prerequisite to have years of “professional” experience to get hired. In fact, one of the first things people are looking for when they’re seeking a social media manager isn’t her resume, it’s her history of making viral tweets. And in that sense, she believes it’s easier than ever to get your foot in the door of the tech world — even without a decades-worth of online experience.

@papermagazine

If you guys don’t stop ratting me out…..##NatureVibes ##SummerWorkout

♬ original sound – Nashará Jadé 💓

“When I was applying for jobs in the past, my resume was a lot more important, and now I get people reaching out in my Twitter DMs to be like, ‘Hey, I saw you made this tweet go viral. Are you looking for another position?,'” she said. “People go to social media to figure out who’s really good at it and are like, ‘We need someone who’s good at memes and TikTok.’ Like, those two things get asked way before something like, ‘I need someone with five years of experience and who knows how to do social strategy.'”

Welcome to “Internet Explorer,” a column by Sandra Song about everything Internet. From meme histories to joke format explainers to collections of some of Twitter’s finest roasts, “Internet Explorer” is here to keep you up-to-date with the web’s current obsessions — no matter how nonsensical or nihilistic.

Photo via Shutterstock

Finally, a Wellness App Not Led by White Women

Between the global pandemic, continued police violence against Black bodies and a renewed discussion about women’s rights, it would be an understatement to say that 2020 has been a particularly challenging year, particularly for Black, Indigenous, Women of Color. And while there continues to be an unfortunate dearth of spaces specifically dedicated to BIWOC’s mental health, one app is trying to fill the void with a reminder about the importance of self-care, mindfulness and rest during this trying time.

Born out of the idea that “the Black and brown community is holding its breath, waiting for the next video of police brutality, the next microaggression, or the next negative health impact statistic,” Exhale was launched last month by Indianapolis-based life coach, author and anti-racism advocate Katara McCarty with the intention of creating a supportive space for BIWOC emotional wellbeing. In addition to featuring a series of coaching talks, daily affirmations, breath work, guided visualizations and meditations, each component has also been specifically designed for BIWOC to address issues like handling microaggressions, coping with grief and mitigating stress.

Related | This Rideshare App Is the Only One Really Prioritizing Women’s Safety

Granted, even though self-care has become all the more important amidst the racial justice movement and pandemic — which has disproportionately affected Black and brown communities — as McCarty herself explained, there’s been an alarming lack of similar resources for BIWOC in particular. And so, she set out to create a space that caters specifically to BIWOC as a “healing resource, especially with everything we’re going through” today.

“We were getting smacked one after another, punched in the stomach, as a community. And I was just in a place of really grieving with the collective,” she said, before mentioning the deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd and Breonna Taylor.

Login • Instagram

“I was feeling this immense amount of helplessness and pain. Like, ‘Oh my God. My community is hemorrhaging.’ That’s what it felt like,” McCarty continued. “And it wasn’t like I didn’t know. I’ve experienced microaggressions and racism — so have my mom, my sister, my daughters — it’s nothing new. But it felt like it was being so magnified. I felt like my comm was really in pain and I was already in a place of like, ‘What can I do for my community?'”

However, the idea for Exhale itself finally came to her this past April during an app-guided meditation which “wasn’t connecting with my grief and pain as a Black woman” as something that was created for and narrated by white people. So she began working on the project with the goal of facilitating “a brave space where BIWOC can show up fully as themselves.”

She added, “I want them to breathe a little bit and be like, ‘Okay, this person on the other end of my earbuds really gets me. They understand my fight and how I have to lead my life. There’s an ‘exhale’ that happens just with that: a relief that’s like, ‘They hear me, they see me.'”

“It is white supremacy to think that white people have all the answers.”

After all, it’s no secret that the wellness sphere — like most other spaces — is predominantly curated by and catered toward white people. But as McCarty explains, continuing to show up in these spaces can “actually be harmful,” especially if you feel like you “have to hang up part of [yourself] at the door.”

She explained, “It is white supremacy to think that white people have all the answers — that they know how to heal everybody because they don’t. They don’t know how to fully heal Black people and people of color. It’s systemic racism. White supremacy is when it’s being led only by white people, because white people have blindspots. They aren’t leading life in brown and Black bodies.”

That said, McCarty went on to reiterate that she didn’t want BIWOC to keep feeling like they weren’t being seen or heard, not to mention overlooked or exploited when it comes to having to explain that their specific identity-related trauma is valid.

“Those spaces are what they are, and I don’t feel called to break into these spaces and educate them like, ‘Hey, don’t forget about the brown people.’ I’m just going to create my own space,” McCarty continued. “Because it’s really important for us to have representation and to see ourselves reflected back to us — physically, emotionally, spiritually. And when that isn’t happening, there’s a part of us that isn’t given space to participate to heal or to engage, which is what we’re used to doing.”

While the entire app is currently free until September 30 — a decision spurred by the Jacob Blake shooting — starting in October, it will revert to a $4.99/month subscription to access some of the premium content. As McCarty sees it, that’s a small price to pay, especially considering there are plans to eventually add a support-centered community function, as well as an educational component that will emphasize the importance of emotional wellbeing for BIWOC.

Related | How to Demand Justice for Jacob Blake

“It’s so important to have these practices in our lives daily to manage the racial trauma we experience, because it’s killing us. It’s killing us in the streets, but it’s also killing us because we’re holding the trauma physically in our bodies and it’s making us sick,” McCarty said.

She concluded, “We cannot control what happens to us outside in the world and we can’t control what happens to our children, but we can control our breath. It really physically does something to our bodies. I’m hoping that the app becomes a resource for BIWOC to understand the power of emotional wellbeing taking care of ourselves and understanding the power of our breath.”

Welcome to “Internet Explorer,” a column by Sandra Song about everything Internet. From meme histories to joke format explainers to collections of some of Twitter’s finest roasts, “Internet Explorer” is here to keep you up-to-date with the web’s current obsessions — no matter how nonsensical or nihilistic.

Photos courtesy of Exhale

TikTok’s Going to be Alright

Another crisis has been averted. The United States-wide TikTok ban, which was supposed to start at midnight on Sunday, ended up not happening.

The government has spent months deliberating whether the lip-synching app is a national security risk. And after all the back-and-forth, it looks like both parties might have reached an agreement. “I have given the deal my blessing,” Trump told reporters regarding Oracle’s deal with TikTok. “I approve the deal in concept.”

But then the President also said, “If they get it done, that’s great. If they don’t, that’s okay, too.” And the Commerce Department’s official statement also isn’t one of complete approval. They said on Saturday evening that they will be delaying the restrictions by one week.

Related | PAPER People 2020: Meet 20 TikTokers We Love

Under the new proposed arrangement, Oracle will be handling all of the app’s U.S. user data. Oracle CEO Safra Catz told CNN, “Oracle will quickly deploy, rapidly scale, and operate TikTok systems in the Oracle Cloud. We are a hundred percent confident in our ability to deliver a highly secure environment to TikTok and ensure data privacy to TikTok’s American users, and users throughout the world. This greatly improved security and guaranteed privacy will enable the continued rapid growth of the TikTok user community to benefit all stakeholders.”

The company is also partnering with Walmart to form “TikTok Global,” which is an expansion of the ByteDance-owned company that will have its headquarters in the U.S. TikTok says that this also expected to bring 25,000 jobs across the country.

Photo via Getty

Selena Gomez DM’ed Mark Zuckerberg About a ‘Serious Problem’

On Friday night, actor/singer/entrepreneur extraordinaire Selena Gomez decided to slide into the DMs of Facebook and Instagram’s head honchos to send a very important message.

Selena, who is also co-chair of non-partisan organization When We All Vote, shared her choice words for Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg on Instagram Stories, tagging both in the post, too. She addressed the company’s leaders, writing, “We have a serious problem. Facebook and Instagram are being used to spread hate, misinformation, racism, and bigotry.”

Related | Selena Gomez Says She Felt Pressured to Sexualize Herself

She continued, “I am calling on you both to HELP STOP THIS. Please shut down groups and users focused on spreading hate speech violence and misinformation. Our future depends on it.” The Rare singer emphasized that with the elections coming up, “We cannot afford to have misinformation about voting. There has to be fact checking and accountability.”

Her message comes days after celebs like Kim Kardashian, Katy Perry, Mark Ruffalo, and Sacha Baron Cohen froze their Instagram and Facebook accounts for 24 hours in solidarity with the #StopHateForProfit campaign, which seeks to hold social media companies accountable for the hateful messages being spread on their platforms.

Facebook and Instagram haven’t publicly responded to Sel’s message just yet.

Photo via Getty

James Charles Accused of Ripping Off Merch Designs From Another YouTuber

James Charles is currently embroiled in an online feud with h3h3′s Ethan Klein, who claims that the beauty vlogger is selling a hoodie with the “same exact design” as one created by his wife, Hila.

Recently, James teased a new pastel color-blocked hoodie from his Sisters Apparel merch line. However, after seeing a video of the star wearing the sweater, Ethan decided to comment on what he believed was a striking similarity to the couple’s Teddy Fresh brand.

Related | James Charles Addressed Dramageddon With a TikTok Challenge

“I know we didn’t invent colorblocking but I’m having a hard time w the new James Charles merch, it’s the same exact design as Hila’s,” he wrote on Twitter. “Combined with the fact that his audience is so huge, many people will assume he designed it and start accusing us of plagarism. What do you think?”

Ethan also shared a few side-by-side comparison photos to illustrate his point, before adding, “It’s possible it’s all a totally cosmic coincidence but he used pretty much the identical colors here too, he at least moved em around a little bit.”

It’s possible it’s all a totally cosmic coincidence but he used pretty much the identical colors here too, he at least moved em around a little bit pic.twitter.com/fdJKm3sEiq

— Ethan Klein (@h3h3productions) September 18, 2020

That said, James quickly replied to the accusation by retweeting Ethan’s post and writing, “When you DM’d me yesterday, I sent you the original photo that inspired my collection, explained I’ve never seen your brand, but also asked what you wanted me to do.”

“You didn’t reply. After last year, I vowed to keep conversations private and create solutions, not drama,” he continued. “If you’d like to continue our conversation and find a solution, my DMs are still open!”

@h3h3productions If you’d like to continue our conversation and find a solution, my DMs are still open! ❤️

— James Charles (@jamescharles) September 18, 2020

In response, Ethan claimed that their actual DMs told a very different story. According to him, Charles had said he was “going to sell [the hoodies] anyway,” before admitting “that the similarity wasn’t a coincidence.”

“I dm’d you because I wanted to keep this private but I found your response combative and dismissive,” Ethan said.

I give you permission to share our convo. You told me you were going to sell them anyway. You also admitted that the similarity wasn’t a coincidence. I dm’d you because I wanted to keep this private but I found your response combative and dismissive. https://t.co/TGakaynFyw

— Ethan Klein (@h3h3productions) September 18, 2020

Since then, Ethan has continued to publicly side-eye Charles by retweeting last year’s drama, in which the beauty guru accused Wet N’ Wild of copying his Morphe palette.

For context, a company made a palette with colors very similar to his and this was his response pic.twitter.com/BJL4MfPsrQ

— Ethan Klein (@h3h3productions) September 18, 2020

Not only that, but Hila also went on to tweet out a photo of her original sketches for the sweater-in-question, writing, “I guess I might as well share some behind the scenes. This is my first sketch of the color block hoodie from 2017 before we had a logo for TF, and in the other pic is the pink one, this is usually how I work on our color pallets.”

I guess I might as well share some behind the scenes. This is my first sketch of the color block hoodie from 2017 before we had a logo for TF, and in the other pic is the pink one, this is usually how I work on our color pallets. https://t.co/5t7NrRC28P pic.twitter.com/mEhHq2cF8E

— Hila Klein (@HilaKleinH3) September 18, 2020

Unsurprisingly though, the argument has since divided fans. And while some agreed that James’s design was a little too close for comfort, as many others pointed out “this style has been around for awhile.”

“It’s literally a 90s aesthetic and you can find identical looks by googling 90s color block hoodies,” as one person wrote. “Like I did and it took about 2 seconds. I’m not even a James Charles fan but the reach here is pretty embarrassing.”

Um, this style has been around for awhile it’s literally a 90s aesthetic and you can find identical looks by googling 90s color block hoodies like I did and it took about 2 seconds. I’m not even a James Charles fan but the reach here is pretty embarrassing. pic.twitter.com/XzDZsCD7V5

— 🌸✨That_Bad_Bartender✨🌸 (@Awful_Bartender) September 18, 2020

Check out what people are saying, below.

James Charles trying to ignore the fact he copied Hila’s designs for his own gain… pic.twitter.com/QRRwc1kF5w

— The Tall, British Guy. (@BiggestFishy) September 18, 2020

Of course it may be a coincidence, but James Charles’ new merch is almost completely identical to H3H3’s Teddy Fresh hoodies https://t.co/xWqsfuyc0w

— Lindsay Dodgson (@linzasaur) September 18, 2020

it’s practically the exact same thing, there’s no way this is a coincidence. If he wasn’t a youtuber then maaayybe, but even then

— Elvis The Alien (@ElvisTheAlienTV) September 18, 2020

im not the biggest fan of James but this design isn’t original even down to the colors. Different brands have been making it with their logos for years. If you truly DM’d him before this and still tweeted this out that’s highly immature. At least have the balls to tag him lol. pic.twitter.com/YuBFg9QGPw

— Lynn (@lynn_loveee) September 18, 2020

H3H3 didn’t invent color blocking and neither did James Charles y’all dumb as shit why is this drama

— liz (@epiphylaxis) September 18, 2020

Photo via Getty

Post Your Drafts Now, TikTok Is Leaving App Stores

Post your drafts, master the latest trends and make sure you do not delete the TikTok app, because it officially leaves app stores in the United States beginning this Sunday, September 20.

After a roller coaster of emotions regarding the potential ban of TikTok over the last several months, it’s starting to feel more real. The Department of Commerce announced their limitations on TikTok and WeChat today as a result of President Donald Trump’s executive order from early August and removing the ability to download the apps is just the first step.

Related | PAPER People 2020: Meet 20 TikTokers We Love

While TikTok’s time for a deal has been extended, WeChat will not share the same fate. When the app leaves the app store, it will be rendered practically defunct “for all practical purposes,” according to Wilbur Ross, US Department of Commerce secretary, in an interview with Fox Business.

The Department of Commerce released a statement regarding the new changes, citing national security as a primary reason for the decision.

Related | Is This the End of Tiktok as We Know It?

“At the President’s direction, we have taken significant action to combat China’s malicious collection of American citizens’ personal data, while promoting our national values, democratic rules-based norms, and aggressive enforcement of US laws and regulations,” Ross said in a press release.

ByteDance, the company behind TikTok, has until November 12 to sell its stake in the US for TikTok and while Microsoft seemed to be the most likely candidate for ownership, Oracle recently became the frontrunner, with Walmart also tossing their hat into the ring. No deal has been sealed just yet.

If a sale isn’t completed by the November deadline, one thing’s for certain: TikTok will no longer function in the US, as internet hosting and content delivery, according to the statement, will be prohibited. In the meantime, all updates to the app will cease.

Of course, the internet has some… less daunting thoughts. Since the announcement, TikTok users and Internet meme creators alike are likening TikTok’s removal to the removal of cult favorite Flappy Bird from app stores in 2014 after “it happened to become an addictive product,” according to the developer Dong Nguyen in a Forbes interview.

Guys do not uninstall flappy bird you can’t get it back pic.twitter.com/yUlXnhIPRP

— Ebin Gamer (@HydroToxicXD) September 18, 2020

I bet people are going to start selling phones with the TikTok app for $50,000 just like back when Flappy Bird got taken down LMAO pic.twitter.com/ztR1eTlJQ3

— ᴊᴇss (@mewniumz) September 18, 2020

Someone’s going to try and sell an iPhone with Flappy Bird, Fortnite and TikTok on eBay for $10,000 next week.

— PCMag (@PCMag) September 18, 2020

Much like the loss of Flappy Bird, we are devastated to see TikTok leave the app store. While this situation is different than the voluntary takedown of Flappy Bird, there is still a question about what comes next for TikTokers. Is it Instagram’s Reels, Triller or Byte that will come out on top if TikTok’s deal falls through?

Photo via Getty/ Chesnot

PAPER People: @eyeamki

For most of 2020, our world has been reduced to the experiences we have on our phones. And TikTokers have been leading the charge in creating viral entertainment that keeps us scrolling for hours and hours. So this year’s PAPER People shifts its focus exclusively to TikTok — the breakout app our President wanted to ban, that launched sleeper hits and massive pop careers, that ushered in an entirely new generation of influence. Meet our 20 favorites across comedy, fashion, social justice and more, who are owning their spaces and racking in millions of likes. (And follow PAPER on TikTok).

Related | PAPER People 2020: Meet 20 TikTokers We Love

23-year-old singer Ki AKA @eyeamki is TikTok’s reigning popstar. Blue check and everything! She does covers as well as original music on her channel, but also killer duets and plenty of random funny shit on the side. Stay tuned: she recently teased to followers that she’s no longer an independent artist, and that a big announcement is on its way. Buy the merch now.

@papermagazine

Introducing our class of 2020 PAPER People exclusively on TikTok💕 Meet internet popstar @eyeamki 🔥 Clothing by ##Diesel

♬ original sound – PAPER Magazine

If you could write the headline for your profile, what would it be?

It’s Ki Like Hi, The Entertainer Created For Your Sonic Inspiration.

Where do you want to be five years from now?

I see myself in five years from now being an established artist, working with my favorite creators in film, music and art. I see myself working on my fourth album and fully engulfed in acting and directing motion pictures.

If you could have a superpower what would it be and why?

A superpower? I have one already! It’s in my breathe. Just being alive is a super power! And being able to exude my breathe on this world with my artistry is an even bigger gift that I am blessed and fortunate to have.

What does your star chart say about you? (Do you agree?)

My astrological chart says that I’m a couture workaholic to the bone. And it’s true!

December 18 is the day I descended onto earth and oh gosh does it make me feel fabulous. Sagittarius sun which makes me a free, divalicous energy bunny!

Virgo rising which luckily combats my Sagittarius nature so my work, art and anything I express outwardly is organized with purpose — with a light layer of mad scientist — but that’s how I stay eclectically fetch. Lastly with my Aries moon, my double fire complex is obviously why I have a dragon tattoo wrapped around my right leg. I breathe fire, and lots of it!

What’s your next move if TikTok is banned?

My next move if Tiktok is banned? Keep doing what I’ve been doing! Inspiring the masses. Elevating growing and prospering in my music career. But it will be missed dearly. It’s truly a fun platform that is so unique and on its own level of awesome.

If you could give $1,000,000 to any charity, what would it be and why?

If I could give a million dollars to any charity it would be StandUp For Kids. This charity is something I truly care about and hits close to home because they end the cycle of youth homelessness. Children are the foundation of my fanbase. They are also our future — our future doctors, teachers, geniuses — and need to be nurtured and cared for correctly with passion. All children and definitely the ones who need a home under 18. Once given a chance we can all change the world positively.

What was your first reaction after going viral?

My first reaction after going viral was like walking through a storm of glitter. IMMACULATE! Just me being me; luckily my singing voice and music was my key to 10 million views over night. The one thing I love doing, the world does too. And that made me feel unstoppable. I was stunned, enamored and blessed. I went from eight monthly listeners to thousands of people listening to my music at once on a daily. Curated 2.1 Billion views from the sound of my singing voice. It’s a blessing, because Tiktok truly is the place to grow the gifted and talented.

Describe your best night in this quarantine?

My best night in quarantine so far was having a dynamic and adorable dance session with my mom in my kitchen. Not being able to have full cardio moment entertaining on stage is a serious bummer. But, busting a move with my forever bestie is always a magical vibe. I was raised on Depeche Mode and Destiny’s Child so you can say our nightly dinners are pretty diversely beautiful.

What gives you hope in 2020?

What gives me hope in 2020 is my music and my creative space. The fact that I can inspire, grow and express myself through my music is the biggest savior for this year of downs. Music still can change the climate of any sad moment. And being able to create it makes me feel unstoppable.

Creative direction: Agusta Yr (at No Agency New York)
Styling: Erika Golcher
Styling assistant: Macauley Deverin
Environments: Aspik Tears

Photography: Ana Karotkaya

Demi Lovato’s Friends Are Reportedly ‘Worried’ About Max Ehrich’s Intentions

Demi Lovato‘s inner circle is concerned about her fiancé’s intentions, according to a new report.

Earlier this week, internet sleuths found old comments in which Max Ehrich allegedly thirsted after other female stars like Ariana Grande and Gigi Hadid. However, fans were particularly disturbed by the discovery of Ehrich’s “major crush” on Lovato’s former friend Selena Gomez, and soon began accusing him of “using” the star “to [boost] his career.”

Related | Demi Lovato Responds to Fiancé’s Alleged Selena Gomez Posts

And while Ehrich has since deleted his Twitter, Lovato publicly defended him in the wake of the backlash and dubbed the screenshots “fake.” Granted, a source has since told E! News that Lovato was still “hurt” and “really upset” over the posts.

“She is head over heels for Max and doesn’t want to be heartbroken,” they said. “She truly cares about Max and wants to think his intentions are genuine.”

That said, it appears as if her friends are now skeptical of Ehrich and his potential endgame.

“People close to Demi have expressed that they are worried and are hesitant about Max,” the insider shared.

However, they went on to add that Lovato is still “truly in love” with Ehrich and has even temporarily relocated to be close to him while he shoots his new movie, Southern Gospel.

“Demi insisted on being with Max in Atlanta the entire time he will be filming,” they said. “They are inseparable and she doesn’t like to be without him.”

Read E! News’s full report, here.

Photos via Getty


TikTokers Are Using Nail Files to Shave Teeth

You can buy a nail file at any nearby store and, by its name, you know exactly what it’s for: your fingernails. Flip it to either side and begin shaving away at your uneven pincers until they look suitable enough for you to flaunt them. Sounds simple, right? Welp, TikTok users have found a new use for nail files that’ll make your teeth shiver — literally. That’s right. Nail files have, suddenly, become teeth files.

Related | PAPER People 2020: @emmwee

Social media trends aren’t anything new, and here’s the latest proof that this way of communication is slowly eroding our hive mind. Earlier this year, the dental trend was to use store-bought three-perfect hydrogen peroxide to whiten your teeth. Dentists swiftly shut that down, claiming that users could cause irreversible damage to their mouths. But in the wake of that dying move comes this method of teeth shaving that can be equally as dangerous.

@miadio Filing my teeth down ##fyp ##dentist ##notreally
♬ I hope I make dentists cringe – miadio

As one user puts their reason for shaving down her teeth, she’s “balling on a budget” so this makes sense. She starts the process and shows the before and after effects on her teeth, saying “it’s not perfect, but it’s significantly better.” Countless other examples show that the trend is widespread and, although it must be painful, mustn’t be that bad if people continue to do it.

Related | PAPER People: @bomanizer

Dentists, however, are extremely concerned with this new development — especially in light of TikTok users’ teeth whitening hacks. “The enamel on the surfaces of teeth is very thin and once it’s filed down will never grow back,” says Dr. Kami Hoss, CEO of The Super Dentists. “Without the proper thickness of enamel protecting your teeth, your teeth may end up with sensitivity or pain, it will become more prone to cavities, and it will lose its’ luster and its’ white color (next layer, dentin, is yellow).”

@dr.m_ Another day spitting some facts about Tik Tok trends ##dentist ##nailfile ##teeth
♬ original sound – dr.m_

A dentist on TikTok posed a question to people following the trend about the future of their teeth, revealing that the problem that they’re looking to fix won’t be solved permanently by shaving them. “Okay, you file them and they look pretty good, but you didn’t solve the original problem,” he said in a video. “So what are you going to do when they’re uneven again, and your teeth are even shorter?”

Check out this teeth-shaving process, if you dare, up above.

Photo via Getty



PAPER People: @emmwee

For most of 2020, our world has been reduced to the experiences we have on our phones. And TikTokers have been leading the charge in creating viral entertainment that keeps us scrolling for hours and hours. So this year’s PAPER People shifts its focus exclusively to TikTok — the breakout app our President wanted to ban, that launched sleeper hits and massive pop careers, that ushered in an entirely new generation of influence. Meet our 20 favorites across comedy, fashion, social justice and more, who are owning their spaces and racking in millions of likes. (And follow PAPER on TikTok).

Related | PAPER People 2020: Meet 20 TikTokers We Love

Emmy Hartman AKA @emmwee has an unrivaled sense of comic timing, the strongest brows in the game and a whole lot of energy. A fan once made a change.org petition demanding that she and collaborator Ben “go to bed” because they seem like they don’t get enough sleep. Follow the 21-year-old Cleveland native on TikTok and YouTube for hilarious straight-faced riffs, absolutely zero dance challenges and occasional 1D stan content.

@papermagazine

Introducing our class of 2020 PAPER People exclusively on TikTok💕 the way @emmwee captured my exact mood…

♬ original sound – bigboyjuicejuice

What’s your go-to appetizer?

Spinach and artichoke dip.

Where do you want to be five years from now?

On a world tour! Playing my music for people all around the world. Seeing so many different places.

Which TV shows are helping you survive 2020 and why?

New Girl for sure. It’s my comfort show.

When was the last time you cried?

Yesterday. I cry a lot, but crying is healthy!

In one word, how would you sum up the internet?

SCARY.

What’s your next move if TikTok is banned

Music! Even if TikTok isn’t banned that’s the next move.

Where do you want to be when the world ends?

With my friends. Listening to Harry Styles.

What does your (UberEats, Seamless, GrubHub etc) order history look like?

Lots of sandwiches LOL.

What was the last song you listened to?

“To Be So Lonely” by Harry Styles.

What is your most irrational fear?

FROGS.

Creative direction: Agusta Yr (at No Agency New York)
Styling: Erika Golcher
Styling assistant: Macauley Deverin
Environments: Aspik Tears

Billie Eillish Appears to Criticize Influencers For Partying During the Pandemic

Billie Eilish has had enough of people partying during the ongoing pandemic.

Recently, the Grammy-winning artist took to her Instagram Story to express her annoyance with those openly disregarding social distancing guidelines, despite rising COVID-19 infection and death rates.

Related | Jake Paul Defend Partying During the Pandemic

“Funny how I haven’t hugged my best friends in six months, and y’all are out here partying,” Eilish said with a deadpan expression on her face, “Funny.”

And while she didn’t name any names, Eilish’s comments appeared to take aim at influencers who’ve been either attending or hosting massive parties.

Back in July, Jake Paul came under fire for hosting a large party at his Calabasas home — a decision he subsequently defended by saying that he wasn’t just “gonna sit around and not live my life.” Most recently though, it was reported that TikTok stars Bryce Hall and Blake Gray were facing criminal charges after hosting two large parties at the Sway House mansion.

Meanwhile, other influencers like Charli D’Amelio and Tana Mongeau have been catching flak for hanging out at similar large gatherings.

Watch Eilish’s video for yourself, below.

Billie Eilish CALLS OUT INFLUENCERS Going To Parties. She says she hasn’t hugged her best friends in 6 months.

Senior Celebrity Correspondent Cindy Barrett says “Someone please translate this for numbskull influencers who don’t understand.”

What are your thoughts? pic.twitter.com/BVOERgNL60

— Def Noodles (@defnoodles) September 15, 2020

Photo via Getty


Why Celebs Are Freezing Their Instagrams… for 24 Hours

In the grand tradition of very vague social media activism (there’s been a bunch of it lately), a bunch of celebrities (or, perhaps, their social media assistants) are currently taking an entire 24 hours off from posting on Instagram.

The cause? It’s technically a good one. The #StopHateForProfit campaign aims to hold social media companies like Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, accountable for the messages of right wing hate spread on their platforms. Not particularly specific, but hey. You can’t argue that Facebook hasn’t caused incredible ideological divisions and helped proliferate a lot of misleading, damaging information over the past decade. And we’re in the throes of election season, after all.

Related | How to Demand Justice for Jacob Blake

But does a brief pause in posting actually do… anything? Probably not. While the list of celebs participating today is star-studded, they’re all self-admittedly planning to return to Instagram ASAP. And followers are roasting them for it: Kim Kardashian, probably the most prominent Instagram user taking part in the campaign (Kylie Jenner is posting as normal), especially.

These stunts are worthless if temporary and short-lived (which they always are.) If anything, they shine a light on… https://t.co/DMSPgJoMw5 — Jenna Golden (@Jenna Golden)1600203434.0

As the New York Times reports, #StopHateForProfit bears some resemblance to the infamous #BlackOutTuesday campaign from earlier this summer, which was supposed to elevate Black voices but ended up just drowning them out in a sea of useless blank squares.

[twitter_embed https://www.twitter.com/KimKardashian/status/1305942213667557378 expand=1]

It would be much more interesting if the likes of Kim (as well as Katy Perry, Leonardo DiCaprio and Demi Lovato) started going into more detail about how misinformation spreads on platforms like Instagram and Facebook, or considered mobilizing their considerable follower counts and taking them elsewhere.

For now, though, a post-Instagram world remains theoretical. In the meantime, an organizer of the #StopHate campaign promises the Times that once the 24-hour freeze is over, some celebs will continue posting “educational messages” that promote democracy.

Photo via Getty

The Meme Illuminati: Behind Instagram’s Comedy Empire

In 2020, he who rules the memes, it seems, rules the world — or at least the world as we see it online.

Memes are no longer just jokes on the internet. As the 2010s saw random image macros and Impact font get overtaken in relevancy by square white boxes with photos and cartoons captioned with Arial or Montserrat text, the decade also witnessed the meme-ification of everyone and everything vital in politics, pop culture and the arts.

Suddenly the measure of a moment’s cultural importance often hinged on the number of memes it generated. (Remember Nancy Pelosi’s State of the Union clap, Baby Yoda or Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper’s extremely close Oscars performance?) In some cases, memes went from being a reflection of culture to the driving force behind it. (See: The contingent who believe Pepe the Frog and “meme magic” helped Donald Trump win the 2016 election.)

We’re living in a time when attention spans are rapidly shrinking and if “the medium is the message,” memes are uniquely well-suited for our age. And there’s a massive amount of influence to be found for those making them. Not surprisingly, there’s now a glut of meme accounts across multiple social media platforms but amidst all of the noise, one growing Instagram meme empire stands out: Doing Things Media.

Makers of viral meme accounts @MiddleClassFancy, @NeatDad, and @AnimalsDoingThings, among many others, DTM has garnered over 50 million collective followers, many of whom flock to their accounts for a particular kind of suburban Boomer humor. While much of the internet is screaming about politics and issues, DTM’s accounts have bucked the trend in favor of a simpler, more inane kind of comedy that resonates for a wide cross-section of followers who span backgrounds, identities and partisan views.

Founded in 2017 by Reid Hailey, 30, and Derek Lucas, also 30, the company is headquartered in Atlanta and currently has 20 people on staff working behind-the-scenes across 20 brands.

Related | Everyone’s Obsessed With the ‘Which Are You’ Memes

“I started making memes in 2015 around the time Fat Jewish and Fuck Jerry had, like, 100,000 followers,” Reid explains of Doing Things Media’s origins. At the time, @TheFatJewish and @FuckJerry were popular “meme curators” publishing memes made by other people, rather than true meme makers. As the accounts grew more popular, a number of media outlets ran stories criticizing those accounts for not doing enough attribution, repurposing memes that were not their own, and in some cases, flat-out plagiarizing jokes. “No one was really making original content in that space at the time,” Reid reflects. “So I started making memes. I found Derek through that process — we basically met in a chat.”

Reid grew up in Atlanta and had always run his own businesses on the side — a chauffeur service here, booking bands there. In 2014, however, he got sick with Lyme Disease and was unable to work a “normal job,” and it was then that he started making memes.

Derek — who was then living in the Bay Area while running a clothing company that eventually became a social-first marijuana delivery service — had also started a meme page where he posted original content.

“Like Reid, I got into making memes after seeing @FuckJerry and @TheFatJewish,” Derek explains. “I knew they didn’t really make the memes, but the more I dug into it, the more I realized it was the same [handful of] creators creating them instead… so I became a fan of a couple different pages. Reid’s page was one, Lee’s” — more on him later — “was another. We all created this group together and started cranking out 10 or 15 memes a day each, which is kind of the origin.”

The group chat was called “The Meme illuminati,” which Reid says was comprised of “me (@shitheadsteve/@trashcanpaul), Derek (@champagneemojis, before he started @drunkpeopledoingthings AKA @nochaser today), Lee (founder of @middleclassfancy) and Kenny (who created the meme account @drgrayfang).” They created the chat group over Instagram DM “to collaborate on original memes together for our pages and would credit each other on those collabs. It helped us grow the pages.”

Soon, some of the best memes on the internet started coming from this small group of people, which at one point included John Mayer (yes, the musician) and comedian Chris D’Elia. “We added John Mayer, Chris D’Elia and a few others on a whim one day since they followed some of our pages at the time. When they joined they immediately responded and started making memes with us. We were really surprised they even responded,” Reid explains. “BJ Novak was in there at one point, and we were making memes with him. He was really good at it and hilarious, which is what you’d expect.”

He continues, “The chat is still there, but not as active today since Derek and myself are not running any pages.” (Doing Things Media has a team for the actual posting now, though the two are still involved in the collaborative process of making memes. They also now accept user generated content submissions that they vet internally and reshare — always with credit to the original creator.)

Thus, in an internet culture where memes can feel like they come out of nowhere, Reid, Derek and others brought intentionality to the process. Their method worked — the accounts started growing hand over fist — and eventually “Reid and I started working together officially and started Doing Things [Media],” Derek reflects.

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A prominent pillar of this nascent meme conglomerate is @MiddleClassFancy, a suburban humor account that winkingly makes fun of white people — especially white Boomer culture — with laser-like cheekiness. (As of publish date, the account has 2.1 million followers.)

“@MiddleClassFancy was created by Lee Ayers, who is a partner at Doing Things,” Derek explains. “When me and Lee and Reid and a couple of other meme creators all started working together in 2015, we had a collective of maybe 10,000 followers when we first linked up. We would collaborate on memes together and Lee ended up going on to create @MiddleClassFancy about a year into our collaborating. When Reid and I created Doing Things Media, we brought Lee on shortly after and acquired @MiddleClassFancy.”

Part of the appeal of @MiddleClassFancy has to do with the fact that the account rarely takes a stance in an internet culture where the loudest voices usually feel compelled to take one. When @MiddleClassFancy describes a certain type of person — like “Tammy, 41,” who “gets a French tip manicure every Thursday, owns every Pandora charm, just switched from a Coach to a Michael Kors bag, husband is a construction contractor, has a toe ring, drives a Tahoe” (words accompanied by a picture of a tanning bed) — they aren’t necessarily saying this person is good or bad. Much like the “starter pack” meme trend of a couple years ago, MCF has merely perfected the art of exposing a character we all know, succinctly enumerating her attributes and confirming that she is indeed “a type.”

Because of these archetypes’ relative ubiquity throughout American culture and their bland innocuousness, the humor and impact of these memes comes from that jolt of recognition we all get when someone shares a spot-on description of something — or someone — that we’d stopped actively paying attention to. Suddenly realizing how easy it is to break down a type of person you’ve taken for granted — like a suburban Boomer parent or white bro-y office colleague — often results in a sort of contact high. Everyone knows, or knows of, a Tammy but unlike a “Karen” or a “Becky,” Tammy isn’t saddled with negative connotations. Instead, whether you interpret her as friend, foe, or fable is a matter of perspective.

“Nance” — who loves her margaritas to-go — and Rand — a lawn maintenance aficionado — have become recurring fan favorites. Everyone that follows the @MiddleClassFancy account knows the “Nance” trope, just like how everyone who’s seen Friends knows the Phoebe one. (“Lee created Rand and Nance,” Derek explains. “He’s from a town that has less than 2,000 people or something crazy like that. He always describes MCF as people who were in his town growing up.”)

Doing Things Media’s other accounts repeatedly use the same motifs and stock images with different jokes, which has built a sort of insider culture of anticipatory humor. @NeatDad, for example, has a recurring theme of dads not wanting anyone else to touch the thermostat. They also regularly share this stock image dad discussing everything from the weather to lawn care. Meanwhile, this goofy smiling white guy has been lampooned as everything from an attention-seeking millennial to a prank-loving co-worker who’s behaving like a “little stinker.” In a way, the awkward deadpan of these memes has the same appeal as the kind of humor that made people love The Office.

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When I was talking to a friend about Doing Things’ comedy brands, she noted that she loves @MiddleClassFancy and @NeatDad because she thinks the characters are funny — i.e., she loves laughing at them. However, this friend also lives in the suburbs, and she was quick to note that her colleagues and neighbors love MCF, too — because they see themselves and their family members in the characters. Nance might be easy to laugh at, but depending on how you are socially conditioned, she may also be relatable. As a result, MCF attracts a more diverse following than many social media fandoms — not in spite of the fact that so many of their jokes poke fun at white suburban Boomer culture, but because of it.

Doing Things’ animal-themed meme accounts and MCF in particular appeal to a wide cross section of people. Part of this comes from the universal appeal of animals — their @AnimalsDoingThings account is exactly what it sounds like, but “a lot of it stems from what we know does well from a content perspective,” says Reid. “For example, we have tried content that is funny but clearly leans a certain way politically, and it just doesn’t do as well. The stuff that does the best is content that is just funny no matter what your political standing is.”

“I was initially tagged in an old post and was hooked,” says a follower named Travis (@tankwilliams_jr on Instagram). The self-described “conservative (moderate on social issues), suburban father and trophy bass hunter” said over DM that “growing up upper middle class, all these memes hit home for me and they’re hilarious.”

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“I found them on my explore page and decided to follow,” says Christine Trefalt (@christinetrefalt), a self-identified mixed-race woman who “gravitat[es] towards liberal” viewpoints but is “not into politics at all.”

“Isolation made me be on my phone longer,” she explains over DM, in reference to the COVID-19 quarantine. “And funny posts help ease through these tough times.”

“I honestly don’t know how I found @MiddleClassFancy. Maybe it found me, to be honest,” says another follower, Drew Shipman (@drewshipman), a self-described liberal white man. “I love them though because I often describe myself in dating profiles as a middle aged white wine mom in a 21-year-old gay man’s body, so their content is on brand as hell,” he shares over DMs.

“I love their memes whenever they mention TJ Maxx,” he continues. “I grew up in a small town in Washington and sometimes the only thing to do was to go smell candles at TJ on a random Tuesday afternoon. I love the absurdity of some of the memes, as well as the general critique of some of the social quirks that uniquely define Boomers.”

The unifying sentiment between random followers that we polled, moreover, seems to be that @MiddleClassFancy, in particular, offers an escape that is uniquely welcome given the present, muddied state of the world.

“There is nothing more captivating than content that can relate to the common person, and in this case, @MiddleClassFancy embodies just that in its purest form by way of memes,” says a self-identified independent named Cole Pittman (@coleeeworldd). “I am from Salem, Oregon and for those who know of my city, it is riddled with Applebee’s-loving, ‘live, laugh, love’ decorated home interiors, Levi jeans and New Balance sneakers-wearing good ole middle class ‘Karens’ and ‘Rands’.”

With this level of reach comes a certain amount of diplomacy, which, for many, is also part of the appeal of Doing Things’ meme accounts. If culture is constantly buoying between narratives driven by “coastal elites” and opposing “rural” perspectives, then Doing Things’ suburban humor occupies a sweet spot in the middle — literally and metaphorically.

The overall theme of what makes it onto any of their meme pages seems to be “nostalgic wholesomeness” — humor that somehow doesn’t offend anyone because the stereotypes they joke about are so deeply benign. When everything else in the world seems so fragile and chaotic, it’s weirdly comforting. “Almost every meme is something I see and think, ‘Yep, that’s my parents,'” says Pete Freeman (@peteyfreeinthisb) a self-identified white male who is “liberal for sure.”

“I grew up in Ohio and now live in NYC. I think my upbringing in the Midwest is why I love the page,” he says. “I’m more than convinced most of these memes are poking fun at Ohio.”

“We try to steer clear of politics,” Derek explains of the accounts, which generally avoid overt hot button social or political issues, even if the characters behave in a way that some would associate with certain political or class-based predilections. “It’s all about making fun of people and not having a strong opinion about one thing or the other; it’s more about bringing humor to whatever is topical at the moment.”

Related | Cursed Images: Finding Comfort in Discomfort

Reid adds that “Lee describes himself as the epitome of @MiddleClassFancy, so it’s all self-deprecating in a positive way — but it’s relatable. Everyone can relate to their dad mowing the lawn at 6 AM. We just want to make people laugh without alienating anyone, because (our following) is definitely split down the middle in terms of political views.”

When I ask a few followers about the predominant Doing Things aesthetic, and how it’s decidedly white, it’s clear that the appeal lies in the fact that the memes touch on broadly relatable – or, at least, recognizable – tropes, regardless of the person in the stock photo or the one clicking the “like” button. “It’s just super relatable,” says Freeman. “A lot of human traits and habits are funny regardless of political beliefs, geography or race, and that’s what appeals to me,” echoes Trefalt.

Plus, of course, there’s the element of escaping from headlines. “I think a lot of people are tired of seeing politically fueled stuff on the internet, especially with the news,” Reid adds.

Doing Things Media did, however, deviate from their typically apolitical approach in early 2020 when they accepted money from Mike Bloomberg’s presidential campaign to post sponcon about Bloomberg across several of their channels. The nod made a huge splash, and the next day Doing Things was on calls with 15 different media outlets, including the New York Times, Reuters, ABC News, CNBC, CNN, Forbes and Buzzfeed. If you didn’t believe in the potential political power of memes before, the interest from major television news networks and publications should obviate it.

The Doing Things team now recognizes the implications of breaking with their politics-free M.O., but they didn’t see the Bloomberg sponsorship as taking a stance in any way. “The opportunity came across our plate,” Reid explains, “and we were really debating whether to do it or not. Eventually we realized that, at least from the creative perspective, there was a lot of room to poke fun and make people laugh, so we felt like as long as we weren’t overtly endorsing him there was a lot of room to do something that hasn’t really been done before — especially in the meme space.”

Derek adds, “We didn’t consider it an endorsement. But if anybody wants to pay us to poke fun at them, we will do that. It wasn’t like we were saying outright, ‘Go vote for Bloomberg.’ It was kind of a name recognition thing, sure, but it wasn’t like any of our brands said, ‘This is who we’re voting for,’ or, ‘Go vote for him.’ It was more just a unique opportunity and we got to make fun of him, so we did it.”

The sponsorship was particularly prescient given the new role that social media is playing in politics. Facebook ads, for example, are not regulated like TV ads, which means politicians can basically pay to put up fake news and disinformation. In this climate, meme sponcon can easily be misconstrued as an endorsement even though it is, in fact, technically an ad. When people see a Bloomberg digital banner ad on the New York Times homepage (or on a TV spot on NBC), no one assumes the New York Times is endorsing Bloomberg. But when we see a politician mentioned or sponcon posted on someone’s Instagram, including a meme account, it somehow feels murkier — if only because there wasn’t really a precedent for it until now. Memes are also different because traditional ads are produced by campaigns in-house and shared in a purchased media time slot or ad space. In the case of a collaborative meme campaign, the creators actually put their own spin and humor into the project. This, in turn, changes the look and feel of the information.

Working with “Meme 2020”, a large meme-meets-politics group led by Jerry Media Executive Mick Purzycki (the company and leadership behind @fuckjerry), Doing Things Media was given free reign from the campaign, so they followed the same model they’ve used for the Tammys, Rands and Nances of the world, and posted about Bloomberg on 10 of their meme accounts, including @NeatDad and @GamersDoingThings.

Most of the sponsored content — like the post on @NeatDad — was just “fake” conversations between the Bloomberg account and the Doing Things account, in which Bloomberg asked, “If I follow you, will you follow back?” Other posts were a little more overt, but followed the same pattern of the candidate shamelessly asking for a shout-out: “Can you post this viral video of me playing solitaire for iPhone,” fake Bloomberg asked @GamersDoingThings, “to let young people know I’m the cool candidate?”

If indeed it’s true that “there’s no such thing as bad press,” then the Bloomberg campaign got what they hoped for.

Still, DTM and the rest of the Meme 2020 group who participated in the project were hit with backlash. Fuck Jerry seemed to be the hardest hit, since they were the ones who coordinated the participating meme accounts, including those run by Doing Things Media.

“Bloomberg using FuckJerry to promote is actually on brand bc they both exploit people and take all the money,” wrote one Twitter user.

Bloomberg using FuckJerry to promote is actually on brand bc they both exploit people and take all the money. — Brian “Box” Brown (@Brian “Box” Brown)1581596947.0

“Imagine being so fundamentally loathsome that you have to pay fuckjerry to make memes about you,” said another.

Imagine being so fundamentally loathsome that you have to pay fuckjerry to make memes about you — pixelatedboat aka “mr tweets” (@pixelatedboat aka “mr tweets”)1581574992.0

But it’s unclear whether the ire directed at the meme campaign was more a function of preexisting anger surrounding @fuckjerry’s meme-stealing past, Bloomberg’s divisiveness, or both.

“[The Bloomberg collaboration] was also kind of an educational experience for us,” Derek shares. “Some accounts took it worse than others. I didn’t know a ton about Bloomberg before this, but I was reading the backlash and I guess he’s been pretty adamant about being against weed, so we learned that from the community on our @fourtwenty account” (a meme account whose post on May 5 was a picture of a cannabis plant wearing a sombrero with the inscription, “Let’s get Cinco de High, yo!”).

“We could have looked into him more, but I’m happy we didn’t,” he concludes. “It was an interesting experience, for sure.” But there were, in Reid’s words, “about 1 million 13-year-olds calling me a sellout. But that’s because they don’t know how the world works yet. If you have a meme page, you’re gonna place ads — and if you don’t, what are you doing?”

Today, Doing Things Media has a diversified business with five distinct revenue streams: Consumer products, brand partnerships, subscription/platform (including passive FB/YT revenue from videos and Patreon, where it’s $5 a month to view exclusive content for DTM’s show All Gas No Brakes), as well as video licensing and traditional media (including TV and books). Doing Things Media’s TV show, “Animals Doing Things” — a spin off of their @AnimalsDoingThings account, which is narrated by Howie Mandel — is now in it’s second season on Nat Geo Wild. The company’s first book, Doggos Doing Things — based off of their @DoggosDoingThings account — is out now.

According to Reid, Doing Things Media is self-funded (they don’t have any VC Capital or private investment) and revenue has doubled every year they’ve been in existence. In the span of 2 years, they’ve built a library of 100,000+ viral videos, and they now receive 7,000+ submissions a month, which they use to create native advertisements out of user generated videos. (Learning from past mistakes made by Fuck Jerry, The Fat Jewis, and, more recently, Barstool Sports, Doing Things Media makes it clear upon submission that by doing so, users are waiving their rights to the videos. This way, DTM can avoid legal disputes while keeping copyright trolls at bay.)

This is particularly important given that Doing Things Media’s accounts have become increasingly influential. According to a public post on Doing Things Media’s LinkedIn page, for example, @MiddleClassFancy once grew a random Instagram account called @JustAConstructionGuy to over 60,000 followers in less than 2 hours with one mention. (This was an account run by someone that the DTM team didn’t know. As of publish date, the account has more than 440K followers.)

This kind of influence and built-in audience is naturally appealing to people in power. But if Doing Things Media and other memers in the space start regularly taking money from politicians, what does that change about this influence, if anything?

We don’t have a culture of paying actors, musicians or stand-up comedians for political endorsements — at least not yet. But what Bloomberg’s paid ad proved — and likely why it sent such a ripple through the Internet — is that memes and meme makers are different. We still live in the Wild West of meme accounts and influencers-as-brands, so most of us don’t really know what it means when an account gets paid to do political sponcon. Since it’s in their voice and with their own creative spin, should it really be considered an endorsement — along the lines of a campaign paying, say, Katy Perry to endorse a candidate, which campaigns cannot do — or is it more analogous to a banner ad on NYTimes.com or a TV ad on NBC News? The type of sponcon or native content that traditional print and digital media produce for brands often feels murky enough but things feel exponentially fuzzier when you add meme accounts and politics into the mix.

When I ask Reid and Derek if they would accept money to do something like the Bloomberg sponcon again — if another political campaign approached them — they give a hesitant, diplomatic answer: “It all depends.”

“It would have to be a case by case basis,” says Derek. “We would just look at the situation at hand and decide from there. But we have a lot more information going into this now because of the Bloomberg thing,” which the two still seem to regard as a kind of humor experiment more than anything else.

Doing Things Media may have 20 brands and over 50 million followers to their accounts, but they are still learning and the process is still evolving. That much is clear. But if you want to build a new kind of comedy empire, this kind of self-aware risk taking — and a lighthearted celebration of TJ Maxx — is a good place to start.

PAPER People: @theonlycb3

For most of 2020, our world has been reduced to the experiences we have on our phones. And TikTokers have been leading the charge in creating viral entertainment that keeps us scrolling for hours and hours. So this year’s PAPER People shifts its focus exclusively to TikTok — the breakout app our President wanted to ban, that launched sleeper hits and massive pop careers, that ushered in an entirely new generation of influence. Meet our 20 favorites across comedy, fashion, social justice and more, who are owning their spaces and racking in millions of likes. (And follow PAPER on TikTok).

Related | PAPER People 2020: Meet 20 TikTokers We Love

Charles Brockman III AKA theonlycb3‘s TikToks are important. The 21-year-old recreates scenes from TV shows and movies with way too much accuracy, often looking back on Disney Channel and Nickelodeon classics from the 2000s golden age and highlighting how deeply cringey and awkward they were? What were we thinking? Shout out to Bring It On: All or Nothing. He can sing, he runs on the UT track team, and he’s getting us through quar.

@papermagazine

Introducing our class of 2020 PAPER People exclusively on TikTok💕 I’m crying at this omg @theonlycb3

♬ original sound – nussbus13

What’s your go-to appetizer?

Chips and salsa and/ or queso all day. You can not go wrong with that.

Where do you want to be five years from now?

I would love to be somewhere happy and pursuing my wildest dreams. My goal is to continue to grow and become a public figure who inspires people around the world. As far as location, I’m not sure yet, but I am sure I will enjoy wherever I am.

What’s your next move if TikTok is banned?

If TikTok gets banned, that would definitely be the quickest rise and fall of my fame on the app since I just downloaded it in March. I am so proud of my growth in this little time, but if it all goes away, I will focus more on my YouTube channel.

What was your first reaction after going viral?

When my first recreation video went viral I was so excited and finally felt like people were appreciating my hard work and humor. I watched the views rise up to one million and I knew this was exactly what I wanted to do.

If you could have a superpower what would it be and why?

If I could teleport that would be so convenient. I have so many things to do during the day and sometimes I just want to be everywhere at once. There are also people who I would love to visit.

When was the last time you cried?

I’m not really a crier. But on August 28 when Chadwick Boseman passed, I couldn’t help it. He was a king and inspiration to so many including myself. This year has us all weary because we have been losing icon after icon, but I hope the rest of this year takes it easy on us. Rest in peace Chadwick.

What’s one thing you’d change about TikTok?

The algorithm is so tricky and changes often. Sometimes it’s inconsistent and I think since TikTok is more interest-based and not chronological, it’s not always certain that your videos will reach everyone you want.

Where do you want to be when the world ends?

I want to be safe in my home with my family watching the sunset having one last home-cooked meal.

Who’s your TikTok crush and why?

My TikTok crush is @chinamcclain. I love the movies she is in and she has a great singing voice. She was actually my crush way before TikTok but hey, now that she has a TikTok, this gives an excuse to shoot my shot.

What was the last song you listened to?

“Summer 2020” by Jhene Aiko. This has been my anthem for a few weeks now. It’s so meaningful and describes this time period perfectly. It is the balance between navigating through the darkness of the world and finding time to appreciate your life and loved ones around you. I play it almost every day.

Creative direction: Agusta Yr (at No Agency New York)
Styling: Erika Golcher
Styling assistant: Macauley Deverin
Environments: Aspik Tears

PAPER People: @japanesegrandpa

For most of 2020, our world has been reduced to the experiences we have on our phones. And TikTokers have been leading the charge in creating viral entertainment that keeps us scrolling for hours and hours. So this year’s PAPER People shifts its focus exclusively to TikTok — the breakout app our President wanted to ban, that launched sleeper hits and massive pop careers, that ushered in an entirely new generation of influence. Meet our 20 favorites across comedy, fashion, social justice and more, who are owning their spaces and racking in millions of likes. (And follow PAPER on TikTok).

Related | PAPER People 2020: Meet 20 TikTokers We Love

With masterfully smooth transitions, flawless e-boy fashion and K-pop idol-worthy, ’90s Leo hair, Neil Shibata AKA @japanesegrandpa couldn’t help but gather a devoted TikTok following when he joined the app in May last year. The 20-year-old Canadian has blown up by sharing his beauty routines, full body bee costume and skits featuring random friends. His fans are called the Grandkidz, and now you’re one of them.

@papermagazine

Introducing our class of 2020 PAPER People exclusively on TikTok💕 I am looking respectfully ❤️👄❤️@japanesegrandpa

♬ STAN LIZ SANCHEZ 4 CLEAR SKIN RN – officiallizsanchez

Who was your childhood hero and why?

I’ve always been a huge fan of Selena Gomez. When I was younger, I used to watch Wizard of Waverly Place every day and listen to Selena Gomez all day. I went to her concert once and ever since then, I’ve gained so much respect for her and I’ve been following her ever since.

Where do you want to be five years from now?

In five years from now, I’m hoping to have a more stable lifestyle. With the way I’m managing social media right now, my life is fairly spontaneous and inconsistent. Hopefully in five years I’ll have a stronger niche to which I can focus on and build off of.

Describe your best night in this quarantine.

My best night in quarantine would be the night my best friend and I got some snacks and a blanket and drove far away from the city where we could see the stars and laid on the beach for hours during a meteor shower. I love spending time with my friends and in my opinion, doing things like this where we can remove ourselves from our everyday life is the perfect way relax and spend time with friends.

If you could have a superpower what would it be and why?

I would love to be able to teleport. I love traveling and if I could visit places wherever, whenever, I’d love that. Never having to pay for an Uber ever again… love that.

Who’s your TikTok crush and why?

Noen Eubanks and Abby Roberts. I think they’re both beautiful human beings and I have fat crush on both of them. I love their style of content but I also love how they portray themselves through fashion and makeup.

What’s one thing you’d change about TikTok?

I don’t like the way TikTok caters strictly to American culture; I wish there was more diversity with the videos that are being promoted. I think there’s a lack of creators that are people of colour. Whenever I do come across a person of colour of TikTok, they don’t get as much engagement compared to those that are white. I think this is both an issue with the TikTok company and the TikTok audience.

What was the last song you listened to?

I listen to “Heather” by Conan Gray at least four times a day so I can confidently say that that’s probably the last song I listened to. I recently found a mashup of “Heather” and “Before You Go “by Lewis Capaldi on TikTok and I haven’t gone a day without listening to that mashup in weeks.

What is your most irrational fear?

I’m absolutely terrified of giant rocks in oceans and lakes. I’m, of course, also scared of the sharks and whales and everything that lives in water, but for some reason the thought of a giant rock sitting at the bottom of a lake or ocean makes me never go in past my knees. I also find underwater forests one of the creepiest things in existence. Bottom line I don’t go swimming.

What’s something no one knows about you but you wish people did?

I wish people knew a bit more about my life before starting TikTok. I was leading youth leadership programs and child development programs. I’ve lead programs around Canada and also in China. I had been a participant in these sorts of programs since I was three years old and when I turned 13, I started getting trained as a leader so that I could lead these programs myself. I also was a national-level gymnast and I did gymnastics for 14 years. That later lead to me being a gymnastics coach for four years.

What gives you hope in 2020?

From what I’ve noticed, since being in quarantine, life seems to moving at a slower pace. I think that could lead to a healthier lifestyle and cause less stress in everyones lives. I’m hopeful that this slower pace will be maintained and shift the way we go about our days.

Creative direction: Agusta Yr (at No Agency New York)
Styling: Erika Golcher
Styling assistant: Macauley Deverin
Environments: Aspik Tears

Kanye West Isn’t Dropping Music Anytime Soon

Whenever Kanye West hops on Twitter to add new notes into his public diary, he makes an announcement, or two, that shocks the world long enough to keep it talking until he releases new music that is usually right around the corner. But, if Monday’s tweetstorm was any indicator, his latest verbal blood-letting isn’t for a new album — it’s to let you know that one’s not coming. And it might not be, anytime soon, as long as he’s still signed to Sony and Universal.

West didn’t sugarcoat the fact that he’s withholding his music. He tweeted, in a now-deleted tweet, “I’m not putting no more music out till I’m done with my contract with Sony and Universal… On God… in Jesus name… come and get me.”

He’s had his fair share of contract-related grievances in the past, with him reaching an undisclosed settlement with EMI Publishing in 2019 due to the ownership of songs that he created after October of 2010. While he didn’t mention this situation in his tweets, he did hint at believing that record labels are screwing artists over.

“I need to see everybody’s contracts at Universal and Sony,” he wrote. “I’m not gonna watch my people be enslaved.” He continued on with a shot at not only record labels, but professional basketball players, as well. “The music industry and the NBA are modern day slave ships,” he added, before saying, “I’m the new Moses.”

I need to see everybody’s contracts at Universal and Sony

I’m not gonna watch my people be enslaved

I’m putting my life on the line for my people

The music industry and the NBA are modern day slave ships

I’m the new Moses
— ye (@kanyewest) September 15, 2020

West wasn’t done there. He went on to ask for J. Cole, Drake and Jay-Z to mend any problems that they have with him. “I need a publicly apology from J Cole and Drake to start with Immediately… I’m Nat Turner… I’m fighting for us.” He also wrote that he’s “waiting to meet with” Jay-Z but deleted the tweet and the one before, afterward replacing it because he had misspelled “Shawn” (as in “Shawn Carter,” Jay-Z’s government name) as “Sean.”

Waving the white flag, West wrapped up his thoughts on his peers on a positive note. “I have the utmost respect for all my brothers… we need to link and respect each other… no more dissing each other on labels we don’t own,” he wrote. “I’m not industry bro… I don’t care… I’m in service to Christ… we need world healing… I miss my brothers… I refuse to argue with black men on labels we don’t own… even twitter.”

I have the utmost respect for all brothers … we need to link and respect each other… no more dissing each other on labels we don’t own
— ye (@kanyewest) September 15, 2020
I’m not industry bro … I don’t care… I’m in service to Christ … we need world healing … I miss my brothers… I refuse to argue with black men on labels we don’t own… even twitter
— ye (@kanyewest) September 15, 2020

Check out Kanye’s tweets up above.

Photo via BFA







TikTok Denies Shadow Banning LGBTQ+ Hashtags

As if anyone is shocked –– TikTok is once again censoring LGBTQ+ people on the app.

For a bit of background, the Chinese-owned entertainment app has a history of censoring content. TikTok previously banned pro-LGBTQ+ content, blocked a user that criticized China and has stifled posts from users that were deemed “ugly,” poor or disabled.

Most recently, TikTok administrators admitted that they restricted several LGBTQ+ hashtags on the app. This includes “gay,” “lesbian” and “transgender.” The Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) exposed TikTok’s shadow ban against the hashtags in languages including Russian, Estonia, Bosnian and Arabic.

When something is “shadow banned,” a user is able to post their content as normal, but it’s blocked or partially blocked and hidden from the TikTok community. Apps like Instagram use it to block anything sexual.

Related | PAPER People 2020: Meet 20 TikTokers We Love

“TikTok users posting videos with these hashtags are given the impression their posts are just as searchable as posts by other users, but in fact they aren’t,” according to the report. “In practice, most of these hashtags are categorized in TikTok’s code in the same way that terrorist groups, illicit substances, and swear words are treated on the platform.”

According to a report from Pink News, TikTok is denying that the app was practicing censorship. Rather, they’re insisting that the shadow ban was a “localized” approach to moderation. In other words, some terms were restricted due to local laws, while “other terms were restricted because they were primarily used when looking for pornographic content.”

Though the spokesperson in the report admitted that some of the terms were being incorrectly moderated, it’s unclear what measures are being taken to rectify the situation.

“We want to be crystal clear that TikTok strongly supports our LGBTQ+ creators around the world and is proud that LGBTQ+ content is among the most popular category on the platform with billions of views,” the spokesperson said.

Photo via Shutterstock

PAPER People: @angelknives13

For most of 2020, our world has been reduced to the experiences we have on our phones. And TikTokers have been leading the charge in creating viral entertainment that keeps us scrolling for hours and hours. So this year’s PAPER People shifts its focus exclusively to TikTok — the breakout app our President wanted to ban, that launched sleeper hits and massive pop careers, that ushered in an entirely new generation of influence. Meet our 20 favorites across comedy, fashion, social justice and more, who are owning their spaces and racking in millions of likes. (And follow PAPER on TikTok).

Related | PAPER People 2020: Meet 20 TikTokers We Love

Kim Fernandez AKA @angelknives13‘s hyper-specific POV videos and cosplays (“ur an immortal vampire who has found someone who looks like your first love… ur confusing her LMAOO”) have her hundreds of thousands of TikTok fans simping in the comments. The 19-year-old is also a gamer streaming on Twitch, where you can watch her kill and cruise on Grand Theft Auto or just chat. She’s also really good at singing? Check out her take on “Toxic,” inspired by the Melanie Martinez version. Dream girl.

@papermagazine

POV: Your best friend always has something to say about the people you’re interested in… it all makes sense now. 2020 PAPER Person @angelknives13 💕

♬ original sound – papermagazine

Which dating app have you had the most luck on? How so?

TikTok! I actually met my girlfriend on there. As funny as it sounds, it really is the best way to get a feel for someone [rather] than actual apps that were made for dating in my opinion. You can get a sense of someone’s humor, vibe/ aesthetic, see them showcase exactly what they’re passionate about. It can be a very personal — yet public — video archive of your individuality and artistic expression.

If you could write the headline for your profile, what would it be?

I take popular movie/ TV romance tropes and make them gay 🙂

Where do you want to be five years from now?

I’ll be in LA hopefully getting steady work as an actor and having fun, taking part in projects that I’m passionate about and speak to me.

Which TV shows are helping you survive 2020 and why?

Killing Eve and the Harley Quinn show are my go to when I have the time to sit down and watch something. I’m in love with the passion, tension, darkness and intensity in Killing Eve. As for the Harley Quinn show, she’s one of my favorite characters of all time so it’s a show that just brings me a lot of comfort, great for when I just wanna chill.

If you could have a superpower what would it be and why?

I’d love to have the power to teleport. I love going to new places but I hate the traveling and flying it takes to get there. Then I could see my favorite person with the snap of my fingers no matter where they may find themselves.

What is the most embarrassing thing you’ve ever done?

I was in a Zoom class bored out of my mind and I had my camera and mic off, so I figured I’d film a funny POV on tiktok to some sad song just for a kick. When I started filming, I failed to realize that I accidentally unmuted my mic while my teacher was going through some slides and it was fine at first. It just sounded like I was sad and opening up to everyone in class out of nowhere and apparently my teacher asked if I was okay, but I had muted my laptop’s volume at that point. I started saying inappropriate things that should not be said in a recorded Zoom class; it was 15 seconds of agony that I didn’t even know everyone was going through until one of my friends in my class started spamming my phone saying that my mic wasn’t muted. I audibly gasped with a horrified look on my face. Then after I muted myself again I had the craziest of laugh attacks. It’d been a while since I laughed that hard, oh my god.

What’s your next move if TikTok is banned?

I’m still in college majoring in acting, so I’d just focus on bettering myself and the craft. I’d probably find another platform to post things when I need an outlet like TikTok to express myself artistically. I also stream on Twitch, so I’d like to keep doing that as well.

What was your first reaction after going viral?

I was beyond shocked. I blew up with video of me as the school’s resident delinquent poking fun at and flirting with the class nerd (the audience). I couldn’t believe that people enjoyed me talking to the camera that much. It for sure felt very rewarding.

What was the last song you listened to?

“Meet Me Halfway” by the Black Eyed Peas.

What is your most irrational fear?

I’m scared of mirrors sometimes. Especially at night, I’m afraid my reflection will start moving on its own and try to kill me or that a monster will appear from the back of me or that a serial killer will come out from behind the shower curtain and murder me. Vivid imaginations aren’t so fun when they’re bored.

Creative direction: Agusta Yr (at No Agency New York)
Styling: Erika Golcher
Styling assistant: Macauley Deverin
Environments: Aspik Tears

PAPER People: @themanuelsantos

For most of 2020, our world has been reduced to the experiences we have on our phones. And TikTokers have been leading the charge in creating viral entertainment that keeps us scrolling for hours and hours. So this year’s PAPER People shifts its focus exclusively to TikTok — the breakout app our President wanted to ban, that launched sleeper hits and massive pop careers, that ushered in an entirely new generation of influence. Meet our 20 favorites across comedy, fashion, social justice and more, who are owning their spaces and racking in millions of likes. (And follow PAPER on TikTok).

Related | PAPER People 2020: Meet 20 TikTokers We Love

“Whoever said beautiful people can’t be funny was right!” writes Manuel Santos AKA @themanuelsantos in their TikTok bio. Then why are we laughing so hard? The London-based actor and performer is hilarious whether strutting around their bedroom like it’s a runway, giving a wardrobe tour of their treasured Zara heels or dispensing a rosé-fueled pep talk to their devoted followers (or, as they call them, “biatches”).

@papermagazine

Introducing our class of 2020 PAPER People exclusively on TikTok💕 now go worship @themanuelsantos !!!

♬ original sound – papermagazine

Which pop star do you most relate to and why?

Beyoncé of course, we’re basically the same person!

If you could write the headline for your profile, what would it be?

Manuel: Extremely hot, skinny, self-centered and quite possibly narcissistic, will never love you as much as they love themselves. Perfect right!

Describe the most recent photo or video on your phone.

Manuel looks sad and desperate, their gaze is directed to their right as they glance off camera to the abyss. Are they pleading?

Where do you want to be five years from now?

On your cover.

What’s your most overused word or phrase?

Previously B*tch, but more recently Byatchesz (not the official spelling).

When was the last time you cried?

Last week, contrary to popular belief I am actually capable of experiencing sadness! Although my last cry was of happiness…

Who was your childhood hero and why?

Definitely my future self. I hadn’t met me yet, but I just knew I was going to be THE ONE. (“Jokes” aside, my mother.)

What does your star chart say about you? (Do you agree?)

A lot of things — too many things if you ask me! On the one hand I am someone very confident, opinionated and independent, but I am also consumed by my subconscious as well, so I tend to overthink and self-analyze A LOT.

If you could give $1,000,000 to any charity, what would it be and why?

1 MILLION??? Just a sec, I’m creating a charity for myself as we speak! On a real note, I would split the money and donate it to different charities that support and aid LGBTQ+ people, ESPECIALLY Black trans women! Most of the time, they are left out of the conversation or not even talked about at all, but in today’s society they are the ones who need our voice and support the most! Some charities that come to mind: For The Gworls Party, Marsha P. Johnson Institute and the Black Trans Travel Fund.

What’s your favorite TikTok sound?

My voice!

Creative direction: Agusta Yr (at No Agency New York)
Styling: Erika Golcher
Styling assistant: Macauley Deverin
Environments: Aspik Tears

Chris Evans Accidentally Leaked NSFW Photos

On Saturday, Twitter was having a field day after Chris Evans, a.k.a. Captain America, a.k.a. “America’s ass” accidentally leaked some explicit photos on his Instagram Story.

He shared a screenshot of his phone’s photo gallery, and in the grid you can see what appears to be an erect penis. And fans and the people of Twitter are convinced that it’s his. Another pic shows a pic of himself with the phrase, “Guard that pussy.”

Related | Chris Pine’s Quarantine Fashions Have Fundamentally Changed Me

The Avengers actor deleted his post almost immediately, but by then it was a little too late. Numerous online users have already leaked the pics out on social media. “@ChrisEvans Bro, while Trump is in office there is NOTHING you could possibly do to embarrass yourself,” Chris’s co-star Mark Ruffalo joked. “See… silver lining.”

.@ChrisEvans Bro, while Trump is in office there is NOTHING you could possibly do to embarrass yourself. See… silver lining. — Mark Ruffalo (@Mark Ruffalo)1599963129.0

Chris’s brother Scott also tweeted on Sunday, “Was off social media for the day yesterday. So. What’d I miss?”

Was off social media for the day yesterday.

So.

What’d I miss? — Scott Evans (@Scott Evans)1600009848.0

And while multiple people are also joining in and tweeting out jokes, some fans are also asking that people stop and consider the actor’s feelings and severe anxiety. 2 Broke Girls actress Kat Dennings pointed out, “The public respect for Chris Evans’ privacy/feelings is wonderful. Wouldn’t it be nice if it extended to women when this kind of thing happens?”

The public respect for Chris Evans’ privacy/feelings is wonderful. Wouldn’t it be nice if it extended to women when… https://t.co/HvTyoBxpJP — Kat Dennings (@Kat Dennings)1600018595.0

Photo via Getty

Addison Rae Is Starring in a ’90s Movie Remake

TikTok star Addison Rae has taken her talents beyond the online platform. She has her own makeup line with Item Beauty, recently starred in Kim K’s campaign as a SKIMS model, regularly hosts a podcast with her mom, and now she’s going to be starring in a movie.

Addison is going to be playing one of the lead roles in the upcoming remake of ’90s classic romantic comedy, She’s All That. But the reboot is going to have a huge twist, which is a reversal of roles for the two main characters. According to Variety, the film’s going to be titled He’s All That And instead of playing Rachel Leigh Cook’s character Laney, she’s going to take over for Freddie Prinze Jr. as a gender-swapped Zach.

Related | Forbes List Reveals TikTok’s Top-Earning Stars

The influencer is going to be playing an influencer, like herself, named Padget who’s going to transform the nerdy boy in school, and turn him into prom king. The story will be written by the same writer who wrote the original 1999 movie, and will be produced by Miramax — which is no longer owned by the Weinstein brothers.

“This reboot is a welcomed step towards a new generation of Miramax storytelling, part of our greater strategy to leverage our existing library with fresh, re-imagined content in both film and TV,” Miramax CEO Bill Block told Variety.

Addison made the exciting announcement on her Instagram. “AHHHHH!!! My dreams are coming true!!! I’m so excited to finally share the news that i am getting the opportunity to make my acting debut in HE’S ALL THAT which is a remake of one of my all time favorite movies, SHE’S ALL THAT,” she wrote.

Login • Instagram

“I’m so grateful for the opportunities that have been presented to me and none of it would have ever happened without every single one of you. I LOVE YOU ALL SO MUCH!! I can’t wait for you to see it!!!” She continued, “I can’t wait to work with this amazing team and everyone involved in making the film and am so thankful to everyone who gave me this incredible opportunity. THANK YOU!! I’m so excited for y’all to meet Padget!!!”

Photo via Getty


Fans Roast Jacob Elordi For Taking All of His Dates to the Same Spot

Jacob Elordi is catching some heat from the internet for taking all of his dates to the same place.

Recently, the star made headlines after being spotted around New York City with model Kaia Gerber. But in between trips to the gym and dressing alike, the rumored couple was also photographed at a local farmer’s market that looked suspiciously familiar to many fans.

Related | This Meme ‘Knows a Spot’ For a Bad Date

According to internet sleuths, the farmer’s market is allegedly the same one Elordi previously took both rumored romance Zendaya and ex-girlfriend Joey King to. And while some reasoned that “maybe Jacob Elordi goes to that farmers market alot to idk… buy groceries,” the vast majority of commenters couldn’t help but criticize his go-to date spot.

“Bro Jacob Elordi not only took Joey King and Cendaya to the same place but now Kaia Gerber too? HE’S SICK,” as one Twitter user responded, while another person added, “There’s something deeply wrong with Jacob Elordi.”

bro jacob elordi not only took joey king and zendaya to the same place but now kaia gerber too? HE’S SICK. pic.twitter.com/x59xHh28yt

— Nella (fan account) (@shadysmj) September 7, 2020

Meanwhile, others couldn’t help but reference the “Knows a Spot” meme to roast the actor’s apparent decision to “take you where he’s taken every girl he’s ever dated.”

jacob elordi be like “i know a spot” and take you to the same weirdass farmers market that he took all his girlfriends

— kate (@pattsvengeance) September 7, 2020

Elordi has yet to respond but, in the meantime, you can see what else people are saying about his obsession with fresh produce, below.

the farmer’s market when it sees jacob elordi rolling in with kaia gerber: pic.twitter.com/3RW5tdZoaF

— Ghezal⁷🖖₁₃ (@mrsbananaphone) September 8, 2020

the vegetables and farmers at the market watching jacob elordi bring all 3 of his girlfriends to the same place pic.twitter.com/gnzCmq6VSy

— ً (@hollandsmuse) September 8, 2020

jacob elordi really ain’t that much different from his character in kissing booth since he taking girls to the same place…… pic.twitter.com/tWP9zsRAzJ

— zendaya is my mom (@stinkbugsz) September 8, 2020

the farmers market employees when they see jacob elordi with a new girl pic.twitter.com/RPzs9xOF6G

— consuelo (@consuelohylton) September 7, 2020

Photo via Getty

Charli D’Amelio Opens Up About Her Struggle With an Eating Disorder

Charli D’Amelio is opening up about her battle with eating disorders in an effort to encourage others to seek help.

On Thursday, the TikTok superstar took to her Instagram to reveal that while she “always tried to use [her] voice when it comes to issues surrounding body image,” she’s “never talked about [her] own struggles with eating disorders.”

Related | Managing an Eating Disorder Under Quarantine Is Weird and Hard

“It’s so uncomfortable to admit to even your closest friends and family, let alone the world,” Charli continued as she explained that she’s “been afraid to share that [she has] an eating disorder” for some time now.

“But ultimately i hope that by sharing this i can help someone else,” she said. “I know eating disorders are something that so many other people are also battling behind closed doors.”

Charli then went on to apologize to any fans she’s hurt with her TikToks by “playing a song and not realizing that those lyrics could have triggered you.”

“[I] deeply and truly apologize and i hope you know that i never intended to cause you harm,” she said, before adding a link to the National Eating Disorder Association with an important message.

“For anyone struggling with this, i know some days can be worse that others, but i really hope you’ll swipe up to this link and get help if you need it,” Charli concluded. “I need you to know you are not alone. remember it’s ok to reach out and get help. we all need help sometimes. i love you all and please stay strong.”

Photo via Getty


PAPER People: @shreksdumpster

For most of 2020, our world has been reduced to the experiences we have on our phones. And TikTokers have been leading the charge in creating viral entertainment that keeps us scrolling for hours and hours. So this year’s PAPER People shifts its focus exclusively to TikTok — the breakout app our President wanted to ban, that launched sleeper hits and massive pop careers, that ushered in an entirely new generation of influence. Meet our 20 favorites across comedy, fashion, social justice and more, who are owning their spaces and racking in millions of likes. (And follow PAPER on TikTok).

Related | PAPER People 2020: Meet 20 TikTokers We Love

19-year-old TikTok creator Sarah Lugor’s handle is… @shreksdumpster. Need we say more? Whether she’s going off about how her mom won’t let her dress like a grandma or creating relatable college COVID content, she’s always on point. Lugor started out on TikTok in 2018 and became an official TikTok creator ambassador this year, complete with neon plaque memorializing her amazing handle. We can’t wait to see where she goes next.

@papermagazine

Introducing our class of 2020 PAPER People exclusively on TikTok💕 Say hiiii to @shreksdumpster 🤩

♬ original sound – papermagazine

What was your first reaction after going viral?

Shock, I still don’t think I have processed the idea of being an influencer and having THAT many people see you and tune into your life. It’s a surreal experience for sure.

What does your star chart say about you? (Do you agree?)

I’m a Pisces sun, Capricorn moon and Sagittarius rising. This basically says I’m a creative crybaby that has a tendency to relate to people on an emotional level. I’d like to agree; I find a lot of comfort in reading into horoscopes. It’s really fun!

Where do you want to be when the world ends?

Uhhhh, I’m not really attached to any physical places, but when it ends I’d like to be content with what I’ve accomplished and surrounded by those I love.

Who was your childhood hero?

As cheesy as it sounds, my mom. She’s been through hell and back, and continues to be loving and kind and I really admired that as a kid, still do.

What is your most irrational fear?

Being haunted by something evil. Idk the idea of being followed by something that has an upper hand on you is mad scary. Because what are you really supposed to do? Punch it???? Good luck.

What gives you hope in 2020?

The younger generation banding together to help each other out. It’s really cool to see things like crowdfunding and other group efforts to get each other support.

Where do you want to be five years from now?

Happy, organized and successful! I have a few aspirations I want to see through, like modeling, acting and making music. I hope to be able to accomplish at least one and be able to help those out around me.

What’s your most overused word or phrase?

I say “not me” or “not you” before EVERYTHING. Not me being repetitive…

What was the last song you listened to?

“No Plan” by Hozier — certified BANGER.

When was the last time you cried?

Probably today LMFAOOO. I found I feel better when I just cry when my body wants to. It’s a good release especially when I’m stressed.

Creative direction: Agusta Yr (at No Agency New York)
Styling: Erika Golcher
Styling assistant: Macauley Deverin
Environments: Aspik Tears

Photography: SJ Spreng