New viral TikTok freeze video explained: It’s not a technical issue, just an interface trick

TikTok users are encountering a new viral video that is causing their screens to freeze, preventing them from scrolling backwards or forward in the app itself. The app has been making headlines due to its planned prohibition in the United States. Users will be unable to access the app unless ByteDance divests its U.S. operations.

FILE – TikTok users baffled by a viral video causing screen freezes, halting scrolling(AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, File)(AP)

What is the issue?

The video manipulates the TikTok app’s user interface, causing the freeze, though it does not affect the phones themselves. Users encounter the video and find themselves unable to continue scrolling through their for-you page without closing the app entirely. TikToker @noahglenncarter brought attention to the issue in a video that has gained 12.1 million views. The video shows a message saying, “Unfortunately, I have to stop you from scrolling,” suggesting deliberate interference with user interaction.

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What has the investigation of the TikTok viral video told us?

This phenomenon apparently stems from a manipulation of the app’s interface rather than a genuine technical issue. @noahglenncarter speculated on two potential culprits: the audio or the picture used in the video. “But if you’re able to scroll past this video, then the picture that they use in the video must somehow be manipulated,” he said.

He also pointed out the ramifications, “If everybody figures out how to make their videos like this video, then TikTok is done because nobody on the app will be able to scroll past anything,” he declared.

How does one fix the frozen screen?

There are very simple solutions to the problem that users can use. As the screen and phone remain unaffected, users can refresh their feeds by hitting the home button or scrolling from the bottom right or middle of the screen.

These actions bypass the illusory freeze, allowing users to continue browsing uninterruptedly. However, the presence of such TikToks among viewers causes inconvenience for the viewers until a more permanent solution is found.

What does TikTok have to say?

TikTok, as of now, has not made any statements, although many organisations like The Post and Forbes have reached out.

TikTok has been making headlines recently because of proposed bans in certain regions and its immense popularity, with an estimated 1.7 billion users in 2023. TikTok’s reputation and user experience rely on its ability to address and mitigate such challenges promptly.

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