American Sign Language videos keep going viral on TikTok — but you might not be learning the right signs
– TikTok is full of American Sign Language tutorials.
– But virality doesn’t always come with accuracy.
– The deaf community is urging people to only learn from creators who are deaf or hard of hearing.
People are using TikTok to pick up all kinds of skills, from dance moves to new languages — including American Sign Language, or ASL.
Spend 10 minutes on the app today and you’ll likely encounter one of these ASL tutorials, many of which are synched to viral TikTok sounds, or recognizable phrases that get pulled from one video and repeated over and over in others, often creating new viral videos along the way.
Consider Scarlet May, a TikToker who goes by @scarlet_may.1 and has 6.7 million followers on TikTok. May, who is deaf, posted a video teaching viewers how to sign “ain’t that your friend,” a viral TikTok sound that’s been used in over 33,000 videos.
May’s ASL tutorial of the sound has gotten more than 10.5 million views and 1.5 million likes as of April 13.
But not every ASL TikTok tutorial checks out. Three ASL speakers who are deaf told Insider that while an increased interest in the language is a positive, learners should try to learn from the best sources: the deaf community.