The proliferation of live-streaming content on social media aims not only to attract followers but also to arouse the audience’s empathy by exploiting the poverty of content creators to profit from the gifts given by the audience.
Such content is further perpetuated by the audience’s involvement in giving gifts or presents. This can spoil content creators and encourage them to continue exploiting social media users.
Through the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology, the government has responded to this phenomenon by requesting TikTok to take down or remove content related to online begging.
The proliferation of online begging occurrences has become the subject of study by UGM students in the Student Creativity Program in Social Sciences and Humanities Research.
The team consists of Alfia Rahma Permatasari, Avisena Kemal Elsyifa, Jatayu Bias Cakrawala, and Wahida Okta Khoirunnisa, and is guided by Mashita Phitaloka Fandia P, a UGM communication lecturer.
According to the survey conducted by the team, approximately 97% of the 98 randomly surveyed individuals stated that they had witnessed TikTok Live content showing extreme scenes exploiting poverty, such as bathing in mud, pouring water over the body, and so on.
Even among the research participants who had given coins or gifts to content creators, 22 were male, and 15 were female.
“Males tend to show more empathy towards content creators than females,” said Alfia Permatasari (Psychology) on Tuesday (October 17) at the UGM campus.
She stated that the general public is genuinely concerned about online begging content, as other types of content can be more beneficial and educational.
“The issue of ‘begging and receiving online’ on TikTok is quite alarming and shows the ignorance of content creators and their way of commercializing audience empathy,” Permatasari added.
Although not easy, she explained, content that exploits poverty in social media with similar practices to begging will continue to appear. Therefore, policymakers need strategies to eliminate practices that lead to the exploitation of poverty.
Jatayu Cakrawala (Social and Political Sciences) suggested that online begging content should be restricted and removed, knowledge and self-awareness programs should be increased for each individual in society, and simple education should be provided and promoted through social media.
“It is also necessary to facilitate content creators in developing more educational content and improving the digital literacy of the public,” said Cakrawala.
Author: Gusti Grehenson