The TikTok Emu Was Just Stressed Like A Dachshund Or A Chihuahua
TikTok emulators seem to show how much the company values its users and the platform’s popularity among teens. But just because a video app has an audience of nearly 2.3 billion users doesn’t mean one-way communication is appropriate, especially when it’s a tool meant to be a more intimate, private platform than Facebook.
Earlier this year, TikTok’s emu mascot fell victim to a more subtle type of stress that can be deadly to users. The “E-mu” — the name is a play on the Japanese word for “human” — was stressed during a live stream and was found to have broken.
E-mu, who is a blue chibi blue emu, is the character used on the TikTok app, which lets users make short videos that disappear after a few seconds. Emus are typically made of clay, but it’s not unusual to make them from clay, vinyl, and other materials. E-mu’s face has a green tint and appears to have a mustache, like that of an old-school Chihuahua, to add to the character’s all-out personality.
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Although the character is not known for being aggressive — E-mu is said to have the personality of a Chihuahua — he fell victim to a less obvious stressor. The live stream was from an event sponsored by the TikTok founder, Kevin Systrom, and other TikTokers including a celebrity couple; the company is also used by the United States Federal Emergency Management Agency.
TikTok’s public relations team did not identify the emu or comment on the stressor. But the company’s chief engineer confirmed the strain and acknowledged that it was a problem.
“When a stressor happens, like the live stream from the event, which was a long event with multiple people, the result turned out well.”
The episode, which occurred on Dec. 12, 2018, occurred in a public area near the company’s headquarters in San Francisco. The emu appeared to be fine. “We do not recall any