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Amber Heard and Johnny Depp's 'Trial by TikTok'

Amber Heard and Johnny Depp


"It wasn't meant to be a viral video. I was, like, in my pyjamas."

Yasmine Bedward, a social media manager, was speaking from a house in Jamaica about the moment her interest in the libel case between Johnny Depp and Amber Heard 'blew up'.

"No one in my real life cared about my thoughts on this matter, so I turned to TikTok as we millennials do," said Ms Bedward, 30.

Her video comparing the two psychologists who gave evidence to the celebrity libel case has now topped 4.3 million views - just a fraction below the audience figure for the evening news programme on the US television network CBS.

It has definitely "blown up".

For another media comparison, the number of people who watch TV news each evening in America is about 18 million. The number of views of videos on TikTok with the hashtag #justiceforjohnnydepp is, at the time of this writing, about 18 billion.

The trial between two Hollywood actors turned warring ex-spouses is a reminder that when it comes to certain stories the idea of a mass media or a mainstream media dominated by a few major news organisations is beginning to look a bit creaky.

It is also, for some, deeply troubling.

And from its early days, it was clear the overwhelming weight of online traffic was siding with Johnny Depp and deeply suspicious of Amber Heard.

The results so far are startling, according to the company's spokesman, Rafi Mendelsohn.