In live streams, families beg for money on TikTok


Kids spend countless hours on social networking sites live streaming while appealing for digital goods with a monetary value.

The company responded that it did not enable this kind of content on its site and that its commission on digital presents was significantly lower. TikTok pledged to act swiftly to discourage “exploitative begging.” It opted not to confirm the exact amount, though.

An earlier video showing a family living in a camp in Syria was widely shared on TikTok, eliciting both support and concerns about fraud from users.

In the camps in northwest Syria, the “TikTok middlemen” who provided families with the phones and equipment to go live were promoting the trend.


The intermediaries said they had connections to Middle Eastern and Chinese TikTok-related groups. That gave the families access to their TikTok accounts. These businesses are a part of TikTok’s international live streamer recruitment drive, which aims to boost app usage.

The middlemen said that since the TikTok algorithm suggests content based on the nation of origin of a user’s phone number.  They prefer to utilize British SIM cards. The UK populace is thought to be the most charitable.

Among the families who visit TikTok daily are Mona Ali Al-Karim and her six daughters. They spend hours sitting on the floor of their tent while reciting the limited English they know, such as “Please like, please share, please gift.”

Mona is using the live streams to seek money for an operation for her daughter Sharifa, who is blind after her husband was murdered in an attack. However, families in the camps claimed they were only getting a small portion of these sums.

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

One of the TikTok-affiliated media outlets received a call from a reporter in Syria who claimed to be residing in the camps.

One of the TikTok middlemen in the camps, Hamid, told that he had sold his livestock to buy a phone, a SIM card, and a wi-fi connection so he could connect with families on TikTok.

He currently spends many hours a day broadcasting with 12 different families.

Hamid claimed that he utilizes TikTok to support families’ daily lives. He claimed that he pays them the majority of the income, less his operating expenses.

Hamid claimed that, like the other intermediaries, he was helped by “live agencies” in China that collaborate with TikTok directly.


We provide them with the name of the page and the profile picture, and they open the account. They assist us if we have any issues with the app. They unlock blocked accounts.

TikTok hires organizations like these, also referred to as “live streaming guilds,” to assist content producers in creating more engaging live streams.

According to the agencies’ statements , TikTok pays them a fee based on the length of live streams and the cost of gifts received.

TikTok, even children in the Syrian refugee camps, go live for hours at a time because of the emphasis on duration.

This is a blatant breach of TikTok’s own terms of service as well as the rights of these people, she claimed. “TikTok plainly specifies that users are not permitted to actively solicit presents,” she said.

She admits that it’s okay for people to discuss their experiences online “in an effort to find comfort and sympathy,” but she claims that these live streams “lack respect and are humiliating.”

The rules of TikTok state that in order to go live, you must have 1,000 followers, refrain from actively soliciting gifts, and “avoid the injury, endangerment, or exploitation” of kids on the network.

However, there aren’t many possibilities for earning money in the camps besides online begging. Every day, hundreds of families still go live, and TikTok continues to get the majority of donations.


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