TikTok has released its list of the most viewed trends of 2023 among its over one billion users.
The social media network’s most popular trends have amassed more than 53.6 billion views worldwide.
Users and non-users alike may be hard pressed to name them all – or easily explain how they work.
Here’s a look at what each one is.
The old filter
While we don’t know exactly how many views age filter TikToks have, we do know that it has been used on 24.6 million videos worldwide.
The app utilizes AI technology to give you an eerie glimpse of your future through your own face.
It was nothing new in concept; Snapchat created a similar filter years ago, and apps offering virtual aging services were available for download well over a decade ago.
But TikTok users this year were particularly impressed — and perhaps a little startled — by how much the technology had advanced.
Kylie Jenner and Kim Kardashian were two of their highest profile users.
“I don’t like it,” the 25-year-old millionaire Jenner repeated as she looked at the newly formed lines covering her face on the screen.
“I look good,” Sister Kim said, laughing at herself in a separate video.
Bombastic side eye
Bombastic side-eye – or ‘criminally offensive side-eye’ – has become an internet staple after relatively unknown content creator Malaika Norman used the words in a post that subsequently blew up.
The side eye is a form of subtle (or sometimes not so subtle) judgment.
If you receive the side-eye treatment, its user, whether they’re a stranger, a friend, or, as in some TikToks, a pet, is essentially saying, “What’s wrong with you?”
Norman made that TikTok in response to another TikTok she saw, where someone had acted out a (hopefully) fictional scenario where they saw an attractive person walking down the street, only to later realize it was their own brother.
“Ok, bombastic side-eye,” Norman exclaimed during an interview with the World Intellectual Property Organization.
“Because it’s a very strange thing to do!”
“How often do you think about the Roman Empire?”
That’s the question that inspired this massive trend to take off, especially in the UK, where most videos aimed to ask men the crucial question.
The TikTok trend saw women asking the men in their lives, seemingly out of nowhere, how often they find themselves thinking about the empire that ruled ancient Rome.
The general consensus for gentlemen both young and old seems to be – an awful lot.
It became such a prominent topic that even respected historian Dame Mary Beard weighed in on why it took over the internet.
This trend, once again powered by artificial intelligence, gave TikTokers of all ages the opportunity to live out their high school yearbook dreams.
It took any face you put into it and placed it into a ’90s-style yearbook with more than 60 different personas; a spectrum ranging from dorky bookworm to athletic jock.
Texan filmmaker Wes Anderson has had nothing less than an iconic career in Hollywood with deeply stylized modern classics like Moonrise Kingdom, The Grand Budapest Hotel and Asteroid City, to name a few.
His movies are so actually stylized that TikTokers started turning their lives into scenes that could easily be placed in them.
Perhaps we’re being a little generous to TikTok users — Anderson’s work is highly polished and undoubtedly requires an astonishing amount of work to pull off.
Some of these TikToks — which take the director’s use of people standing awkwardly in the frame, fall colors, whimsical music and yellow text overlay — could easily have fooled us.
Girl’s dinner/boy’s dinner
Have you ever reached the end of a long, challenging day and decided to just grab some cheese from the fridge and munch on it along with some bread?
Maybe you just wanted some fruit and a small bowl of popcorn? Or some raw vegetables and houmous.
If so, congratulations: you’ve mastered the ‘girl’s dinner’.
In short, this massive trend describes how women sometimes opt for an easy, stress-free snack or two instead of making a challenging, full dinner.
The trend sounds harmless, but it made headlines during its peak in the summer, with critics pointing out that girls’ dinners are often too low in calories to be considered nutritious.
If a small, random, spontaneous little meal neatly plucked from the fridge or snack drawer is a girl’s dinner, can you guess what a boy’s dinner is?
Singer-songwriter Arkane Skye summed it up with her viral post, which garnered over a million likes. He can be seen entering his absolutely filthy bedroom and lifting his sheets to reveal a greasy pizza box, filled with a few leftover slices and slathered in mayonnaise.
“Same and opposite energy as girls’ dinner,” one commenter concluded.
Hot girl summer
Hot girl summer is a trend that can be traced back to American rapper Megan Thee Stallion, who released the hit tracks Hot Girls and Hot Girl Summer in 2018 and 2019 respectively.
The 28-year-old star explained the phenomenon to The Root in 2019, saying, “It’s just basically about women — and men — just being unapologetically them. You definitely have to be someone who can be the life of the party.”
Nowadays, the hot girl takes up the summer trend in the run-up to the hottest months of the year – and 2023 was no exception.
People posted TikTok videos joking about restricting their diets to accommodate their hot girl summer, giving advice on how to make the most of their hot girl years, and many simply posted about the kind of fun they were already having.
In short, this is the hashtag you put on a TikTok that describes how delusional – aka “delulu” – you are.
The TikTok at the top of this trend creates a scenario where a man has stopped responding to texts from a woman, presumably someone he is in a relationship with.
The woman then pulls up a CCTV feed from 36 cameras and insinuates that she is following the man’s every move.
Beige flag, red flag, green flag
You’ve probably heard the term “red flag” in your everyday life.
It’s the go-to term for a warning sign; The Cambridge Dictionary describes it as “a flag used as a sign of danger.”
TikToks generally use the term red flag in relation to dating. For example, one of your red flags could be that you use TikTok too often.
A green flag is therefore quite self-explanatory – it is a positive characteristic.
However, the beige flag phenomenon is far less clear-cut. It seems to detail character traits that people have that aren’t exactly red flags, but are perhaps a little unusual or off-putting.
Some of those featured on TikTok’s beige flag filter, which predicts what the user’s own beige flags are, range from simply “always cold” to “looks better in person” and “picky eater.”