TikTok gossip accounts are shaking up the media biz

They’ve built tabloid empires out of sharing screenshots.


August 27, 2020

Hot tip: If you want to run into your favorite TikTok star in the wild, head over to BOA Steakhouse in Los Angeles. According to the New York Times, the eatery is a “hot spot for Gen Z influencers.”

It’s also where you’re likely to find Fletcher Greene — a 38-year-old paparazzo who has landed more exclusives with TikTok stars than Us Weekly could dream of.

With 1.5m followers, his YouTube channel, The Hollywood Fix, is like TMZ for the TikTok generation.

And it’s part of a wave of new media companies that are out-gossipping the former titans of gossip.

They’re rewriting the rules of media 

  • Famous Birthdays has become TikTok’s Wikipedia, with explainers and deets on all the platform’s up-and-comers.
  • The Shade Room (20m+ followers) and TikTok Shaderoom (1.5m) are several of dozens of so-called “tea rooms” — gossip-centric Instagram accounts filled with screenshots of deleted posts and leaked texts from celebs.
  • YouTube channels like DramaAlert (5.6m followers) report on juicy “news” like the FBI raid on Jake Paul’s house.
  • Comments By Celebs (1.5m+) is an Instagram media company that sleuths out provocative statements left in the comments section. It recently launched a TikTok-specific spinoff, @CommentsByTikTok.

The gossip world hasn’t seen a shakeup like this since the 1910s

Back then, a flurry of new tabloids — like Broadway Brevities, Town Topics, and the Tattler — made an art form out of urban socialite gossip.

That skewering tabloid voice we know so well? You can trace it to the original scandal kingpin, Stephen G. Clow, who owned Brevities.

What we’re seeing now is another revamp. These Insta publishers are using influencer drama to build out their own media empires — ones with the followers and personality to rival some big-name newspapers.

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