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Teens are selling products on TikTok Shop between classes

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Teens are selling products on TikTok Shop between classes

High schoolers are testing out their social media marketing skills with a new side gig: TikTok Shop. Teens on the app are bringing in millions of views using the new feature, despite the fact that TikTok forbids minors from applying to the program.

NBC News identified six TikTok accounts that have published dozens of TikTok Shop videos over the past two weeks. The creators all identified publicly as under the age of 18. 

In a statement responding to questions about the presence of teens on TikTok Shop, a TikTok representative said, “As TikTok Shop rolls out in the US, we continue to evolve our safeguards and are taking steps to address this issue.” TikTok asks users for their age when signing up for an account, which offers a loophole — kids can pretend to be older.

The findings are the latest demonstration of how users are quickly taking advantage of the relatively new TikTok Shop functionality to make money. The feature, launched in September, has rapidly gained popularity and TikTok has appeared to struggle to moderate how people are using it. It also demonstrates the rapid influence that TikTok Shop’s new system, which encourages the fast production of internet advertising by creators, is having on the internet.

One of the creators, who said on his profile (which had over 33,000 followers) that he was 16, made a TikTok Shop advertisement for $4 women’s leggings that said the wearer “may get pregnant” — a joke about how good the wearer would look in the leggings. In the video, the teen danced to “Billie Jean” (in which Michael Jackson sings, “But the kid is not my son … ”). Another video the same teen made advertising the leggings, in which he imagined a “10/10 baddie” wearing them, has over 1.1 million views. 

In the two weeks since its debut, TikTok Shop has made major waves in the social media advertising scene, with the app becoming a conduit for a new type of commission-based marketing. With TikTok Shop, users can advertise nearly any product available through the app and get a cut of the sale. The company also makes it easy for large and small retailers to sell their goods via the shop.

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TikTok Shop videos are served to TikTok users via the same algorithm that determines the “For You” page, which means that videos that quickly get engagement will often be pushed out to even bigger viewership almost instantly. 

This has resulted in a near-endless stream of TikTok Shop videos marketing all kinds of products, including dubious health supplements and too-good-to-be-true gadgets. Some TikTok Shop videos feature clips copied from content like podcasts that the creator uses to advertise an unrelated product. In that case, the creator isn’t affiliated with either the content or the product.

Many of the creators using TikTok Shop are adults, and typically they either make the product they’re advertising, are sponsored by the company whose products they’re advertising, or they order the products to test them before advertising them. 

Some teens appear to have jumped onboard as well, posting videos that look like they’re shot in high schools with backgrounds showing lockers, desks and hallways. Some are even recorded during class.

Some of the TikTok Shop creators don’t appear to be using or buying the products they’re marketing. Some are just putting text over a simple background with a plea to purchase the product, sometimes even making a series of videos with slight differences advertising a product over and over again — dozens or even hundreds of times — trying to get an algorithmic win on at least one video. 

The TikTok Shop feature is not supposed to be used by minors, but the voluntary age submission process has allowed teen users to slip through the cracks. While TikTok requires people selling their own products to provide TikTok with a form of government-issued ID, creators who are just advertising other people’s products don’t have to prove their age.

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According to the TikTok Shop Content Policy, “Creators are prohibited from uploading, posting, streaming, or sharing any content that targets minors,” including content trying to persuade minors to buy products or services or content to try to get minors to persuade their parents to buy them products or services.

Much of the merchandise being sold on TikTok Shop comes from China, even though it is being sold by many creators in the U.S.

The same teen made a video advertising a studded $10 belt with the caption: “Imagine your parents this belt just whoop you.” That video has over 1.2 million views. The teen made all three videos in the same day. 

The leggings the teen advertised are from a brand listed on TikTok Shop as Ying Fu Apparel, based in Zhejiang, China. The belt was from a brand called “HeartinBelt” that is also based in Zhejiang. 

Some teens making TikTok Shop videos are actually trying the products that they’re advertising. One girl who said she was 15 made a TikTok Shop video lip-syncing to the song “Creep” by Radiohead. She advertised the Radiohead T-shirt she was wearing in the video, which she wrote was “cute af” and “only costed me like $1.27.” Her video was viewed 2.8 million times. 

The shirt, which currently costs $13.99 to $58.99 on TikTok Shop, is being sold on the platform by an individual based in Missouri whose products include a lot of music merchandise.

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TikTok Shop has been compared to Chinese fast-fashion giants like Shein and Temu, but executives at the company have reportedly said they view TikTok Shop more like Amazon.

In some ways, TikTok Shop has emerged as a new concept altogether — not fast-fashion production, but fast-advertising production. It’s a no-holds-barred approach to affiliate marketing, a type of influencer brand marketing popularized by early-to-mid 2000s bloggers.

Affiliate marketing is when a company like Shein contracts an influencer to create content marketing their clothes. Often, that influencer is provided with an “affiliate code,” which shoppers can use like a discount code. Because the influencer is an affiliate, they receive a cut of the proceeds from purchases made with their code. 

TikTok Shop streamlines this concept so that companies don’t need influencer marketing employees and creators don’t need to be influencers. Anyone with at least 5,000 TikTok followers can begin making affiliate content for TikTok Shop — although NBC News spotted accounts with fewer followers making TikTok Shop content, too. 

According to TikTok’s rules, users must be 18 and provide valid tax and banking information to enroll in TikTok Shop.



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Grab Microsoft Project Professional 2021 for $20 During This Flash Sale

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Grab Microsoft Project Professional 2021 for $20 During This Flash Sale

Disclosure: Our goal is to feature products and services that we think you’ll find interesting and useful. If you purchase them, Entrepreneur may get a small share of the revenue from the sale from our commerce partners.

If you’re in charge of a business and you don’t have a clear understanding of how to approach projects in an organized and effective manner, that’s a problem. Like many leaders before you, consider leaning on software that’s designed to streamline the project workflow for companies representing a wide range of industries.

A rate that will only be available from April 19 through 22, you can get Microsoft Professional 2021 for just $19.97 (reg. $249).

This well-reviewed software comes with a range of pre-built templates that you can use to set your project off on the right foot. It supports a number of helpful functions like building complex schedules with varying timelines, auto-populating those schedules in instances where it can, and submitting timesheets that can be distinguished by project work and non-project work.

Some additional features of Microsoft Project Professional that can help entrepreneurs and their teams include what-if scenario generation capabilities. Microsoft Project Professional also allows you to sync projects on your local server with those online, which is massively helpful for remote teams.

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Its comprehensive and well-curated offerings are part of why Project Professional is rated an average of 4.7/5 stars on the Entrepreneur Store.

Don’t miss this limited-time opportunity to make a worthwhile investment in your business for the price of a beer at the ball game.

A price that will only last from April 19 through 22, you can get Microsoft Professional 2021 for just $19.97 (reg. $249).

StackSocial prices subject to change.

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AI Will Transform the Workplace. Here’s How HR Can Prepare for It.

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AI Will Transform the Workplace. Here's How HR Can Prepare for It.

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Our workplaces are about to undergo an unprecedented level of transformation, and HR will take center stage. Artificial intelligence will dramatically reshape HR in a way that goes beyond recruiting, hiring and talent management. Leadership teams at all levels need to embrace this change to transform and lead their organizations forward.

It’s the people, and not the technology, that makes AI initiatives a success. Intrapreneurs, in particular, are the driving force behind it. As I shared in Fearless Innovation, I noticed this when I was working on the innovation agenda for the Great Places to Work study — the most innovative companies were those that had a leadership team that was embracing intrapreneurship and were open to change.

HR is the beating heart of any organization, and as such, it needs to take center stage in both adopting and leading ethical and innovative AI transformation across the organization.

Related: How Artificial Intelligence Is Reinventing Human Resources

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4 tectonic shifts AI will drive in HR

1. A new wave of massive reskilling

As AI becomes more prominent across business functions, the need for new skills will only grow. Forty percent of enterprise leaders believe that their workforce would need to reskill as a result of AI and machine learning. In fact, research shows almost a third of all hours worked in the U.S. could be automated by 2030.

All of us need to reskill to some extent to be relevant in the AI era. Not only would people need to re-train, but generative AI is introducing a whole host of professions that have been non-existent until recently, from AI ethicists to human-AI interaction designers. Some of these roles might sound futuristic, yet they are becoming increasingly relevant as technology advances.

2. The great restructure

As automation takes center stage across more business functions, there will be the inevitable need for organizations to restructure and rethink how they work. This transition will not only involve the integration of new technologies but also introduce a shift in the workforce dynamics. Intrapreneurs will need to identify gaps both in skills and operational processes and forge brand-new roles for themselves and those they manage. HR must play a key role in enabling a smooth and easy transition in this regard. The transition will not be smooth or easy, and it’s only HR that has the capability to make it impactful.

3. Arrival of “digital humans”

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“Digital human” may sound like an oxymoron, but that’s the term that’s starting to appear in business and operational plans. More roles, regardless of industry, are becoming digitally enhanced where some form of AI assistance is embedded in their everyday work. A real-life example is the introduction of the digital nurse — AI-powered healthcare agents which have already been proven to outperform human nurses in certain tasks.

Imagine the impact these digital roles will have on the workforce the more sophisticated and prevalent they become. Eventually, HR will need to create policies and systems in place that account for this new type of “staff augmentation.”

4. Regulating the robot

The threat of AI bias and misuse is serious. Not only can the technology put many jobs at peril, but potential improper implementation can expose organizations to serious liability and negatively affect the workforce. From avoiding bias to inclusivity, HR teams play a critical role in the ethical deployment and management of AI technologies.

HR professionals will be tasked with navigating the delicate balance between leveraging AI for efficiency and ensuring that its application upholds fairness, privacy and non-discrimination.

Related: How to Successfully Implement AI into Your Business — Overcoming Challenges and Building a Future-Ready Team

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What HR intrapreneurs must do to embrace AI the right way

The future of work is being shaped by AI adoption, and its success hinges on the right approach from the outset. My experience shows that for successful organizations, one universal trait stands out: the presence of change agents. Every organization, regardless of size, benefits from intrapreneurs who are open to change and committed to spearheading transformation efforts. These intrapreneurs are pivotal in driving the future of work, as they help orchestrate the integration of new technologies into their business models.

HR and talent leaders should harness this dynamic, encouraging a symbiotic relationship with intrapreneurs to develop customized solutions for AI adoption, ensuring that they are not just keeping pace with technological advances but are actively shaping their trajectory.

Securing a seat at the table:

HR should take a proactive stance in the adoption of AI, even if it is still in its early stages within your organization. By securing a position at the forefront of the AI initiative, HR can and should facilitate and guide the entire organization in embracing this significant change.

As AI has the potential to impact every facet of the organization, it is imperative for HR to not only understand and advocate for this technology but also lead its integration across all departments. HR should encourage and support intrapreneurs and all employees to leverage AI in their daily tasks, demonstrating its value not just for operational efficiency but for personal and professional growth as well.

Master the technology:

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To effectively navigate and regulate AI, HR must first understand it thoroughly. Grasping the full potential of this technology is crucial for reaping its extensive benefits. HR plays a vital role in identifying the necessary tools and skills that employees must acquire and then integrating these learnings into daily work practices.

Before implementing AI more broadly, HR should initiate comprehensive training programs that not only educate but also reassure employees about AI’s role in the future of the business. By leading these educational initiatives, HR can shape the structure and effectiveness of these programs, ensuring they meet the needs of the organization and its workforce.

Related: 3 Ways to Prepare Your Business For an AI Future

Looking ahead

Generative AI has the transformative potential to redefine the business landscape, but realizing this vast potential hinges on more than just the adoption of technology. It critically depends on the talent within the workforce, driven by HR and bold intrapreneurs. These visionary leaders don’t just implement new tools; they exemplify their use, demonstrating the profound impact of AI across every level of the organization.

HR plays a pivotal role in fostering this environment, enabling intrapreneurs to guide and inspire every individual they touch. Together, they turn each employee into a catalyst for change, igniting a widespread passion for innovation that deeply resonates and sustains long-term success.

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Samsung: 6-Day Workweek For Execs, Company in Emergency Mode

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Samsung: 6-Day Workweek For Execs, Company in Emergency Mode

Four-day workweeks might have all the buzz, but one major tech company is going in the opposite direction.

Samsung is implementing a six-day workweek for all executives after some of the firm’s core businesses delivered lower-than-expected financial results last year.

A Samsung Group executive told a Korean news outlet that “considering that performance of our major units, including Samsung Electronics Co., fell short of expectations in 2023, we are introducing the six-day work week for executives to inject a sense of crisis and make all-out efforts to overcome this crisis.”

Lower performance combined with other economic uncertainties like high borrowing costs have pushed the South Korean company to enter “emergency mode,” per The Korea Economic Daily.

Related: Apple Is No Longer the Top Phonemaker in the World as AI Pressure and Competition Intensifies

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Executives at all Samsung Group divisions will be affected, including those in sales and manufacturing, according to the report.

Samsung had its worst financial year in over a decade in 2023, with the Wall Street Journal reporting that net profit fell 73% in Q4. It also lost its top spot on the global smartphone market to Apple in the same quarter, though it reclaimed it this year.

Though employees below the executive level aren’t yet mandated to clock in on weekends, some might follow the unwritten example of their bosses. After all, The Korea Economic Daily reports that executives across some Samsung divisions have been voluntarily working six days a week since January, before the company decided to implement the six-day workweek policy.

Entrepreneur has reached out to Samsung’s U.S. newsroom to ask if this news includes executives situated globally, including in the U.S., or if it only affects employees in Korea. Samsung did not immediately respond.

Research on the relationship between hours worked and output shows that working more does not necessarily increase productivity.

A Stanford project, for example, found that overwork leads to decreased total output. Average productivity decreases due to stress, sleep deprivation, and other factors “to the extent that the additional hours [worked] provide no benefit (and, in fact, are detrimental),” the study said.

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Related: Samsung’s Newest Galaxy Gadget Aims ‘To See How Productive You Can Be’

Longer hours can also mean long-term health effects. The World Health Organization found that working more than 55 hours a week decreases life expectancy and increases the risk of stroke by 35%.

The same 55-hour workweek leads to a 17% higher risk of heart disease, per the same study.

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