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This TikToker is getting real about how online hate has harmed her mental health

To many of us, the life of a social media influencer seems like a total dream: you get to live with your best friends in a gorgeous mansion, get sent tons of free clothes and products from companies, and get paid for creating fun content for millions of followers. As great as it may be, though, there's a very real dark side to being in the public eye.

Influencers constantly have to deal with hateful comments and messages by strangers on the Internet, and on TikTok especially, "cancel culture" has taken over and caused many individuals to be personally attacked online until they stop posting altogether.

18-year-old Nessa Barrett knows better than anyone the power that hateful words can have on the way you view yourself. She is one of the most successful TikTokers on the app with over 11.5 million followers. Earlier this summer, she found herself in the middle of a major scandal when she posted a controversial TikTok video dancing to a recitation of the Quran, a fundamental religious text for Muslim people. 

Her followers and other users of the app were understandably offended and frustrated by Nessa's action, and her apologies via TikTok live and Insta Stories initially came across as unsatisfactory. However, the hate directed toward her by literally millions of people quickly spiraled out of control.

Her comments section was filled with people calling her horrible names, taunting her with emojis, and even sending death threats to herself and her family. She continued to publicly apologize for her mistake, and while many of her fans forgave her and stopped leaving negative comments they did not go away entirely. 

Nessa's recent physical transformation and the way she has addressed her struggles with mental health show how much she has been affected by the toxicity of "cancel culture." She has also used music to cope with her emotional struggles, writing a song called "Pain" with lyrics that talk about her sadness.

Throughout all of the hate sent her way, Nessa decided to use her platform to speak out about mental health and encourage kindness online. She has started opening up to her followers in captions and comments on recent TikTok videos and sharing her history of battling anxiety as well as bipolar disorder. 

@nessaabarrett

swear i’m running out of time and it’s so scary

♬ original sound - Gio 🥺👉👈

We could *all* be a little more conscious of what we post online, and it is important to remember that whatever we put in a comment section will be seen by another human being. Spreading negativity and hate doesn’t help anyone, and we all share a responsibility to use social media for good rather than to hurt others. 

Be sure to follow @girlslifemag on TikTok for all of the fun (and none of the negativity!)

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by Lexi Casazza | 10/27/2020
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