The dog toy subscription company BarkBox has been accused of stealing a viral toy video, and the response on TikTok has been mixed.
Influencer CeCe (@ceceandherpups) gained over 4.6 million views and 14,000 comments when she took to TikTok to accuse BarkBox in public of altering and uploading a viral video of hers without her consent.
Now, much like the moment when controversial parents had to contact Ring customer service about their 3-year-old’s alleged camera experience, the accusation is causing a stir on TikTok.
In her video, CeCe alleges that BarkBox stole viral content of hers by removing her watermark and voiceover and posting it on its account without her consent.
The allegedly stolen video, which featured CeCe’s dog revealing the contents of one of BarkBox’s “2in1” dog toys, gained over 3.3 million views. Soon after the video went viral, CeCe claims that a BarkBox representative messaged her, asking if they could repost her video to the company’s Instagram account, and offering to tag her in the post.
CeCe claims she responded, “I’m not comfortable with giving your company the posting rights without receiving compensation for my work. Let me know what you think.”
According to CeCe, the BarkBox representative then passed her along to the “paid collaborations team,” with whom CeCe says she discussed her rates. However, soon after this exchange, the influencer claims BarkBox went forward with posting her video to its Instagram account.
“Your company does not have the right to use this video without my permission. Please take it down,” CeCe allegedly wrote to the company, according to screenshots used in CeCe’s video.
To this, a BarkBox representative allegedly replied, “I’m so sorry! Will take it down now! … It was pulled from TikTok because it included our toy. I’ll be sure to pass on the information about reaching out even with our product. Have a great day & apologies!!”
“Furious” and feeling “disrespected,” CeCe says she emailed the Barkbox social media team about the matter. To this, the team member allegedly explained that it was a “miscommunication” between different departments. “We’re deeply sorry for the miscommunication here and we truly appreciate how you advocate for us online. … Sorry again for this mix-up, it won’t happen again!”
“I wasn’t falling for it,” CeCe states in the video, “so I told them, ‘Using the excuse we’re sorry for the miscommunication is not compensating or making up for what you did.’ And you know what BarkBox did? They blocked me.”
Some TikTokers seemed to take issue with CeCe’s feelings on the matter, judging by the comments.
“They took the video down was that not enough 😭😭,” one user wrote.
“It’s really not that deep,” another user commented.
In response to comments like these, CeCe posted a follow-up video, captioned, “I don’t see u going viral on TikTok … that’s bc it’s hard work.”
From there, CeCe continued posting follow-up videos to explain her perspective on the matter.
In one video, the influencer held up her allegedly ailing senior dog and listed his many medical needs and described his lengthy vet bills. “Had this company, BarkBox, paid me, I might have been able to get the treatment that he needed earlier on,” she states.
In another video, CeCe states that another reason why she’ll no longer be supporting the dog toy company is due to the content posted to BarkBox’s TikTok account — content she alleges “sexualizes” dog toys.
In another, CeCe delves into the financials of how much believes she could have — and should have — been paid. “A lot of people are like, ‘What? You would have made, like, ten dollars, chill out.’ No, not ten dollars, thousands of dollars.”
‘Bruh this is too much’
TikTokers’ opinions of the different videos were varied, with some seemingly feeling like CeCe’s reaction was over the top.
“😂 Reachingggggg,” commented one user.
“You did FREE content for them anyways! Like bruh this is too much 😂😂,” one user wrote.
“Bro if they deleted it then drop it they aren’t making profit off of it,” another user commented.
“This is peak 2023, complain enough and see if you get anything lol,” wrote another.
However, some TikTokers were on CeCe’s side.
“No matter how much money you have you deserve to be paid for YOUR work!” one user commented.
“The larger point is that these multimillion/billion $ companies are stealing content for marketing. She’s not the first, won’t be the last,” another user wrote.
“Even if it is just $10 we can’t just let companies take advantage of creators. It’s wild to me that anyone would ever be on a corporations side,” wrote another.
‘I’m never going to buy bark box again’
In response to CeCe’s viral claims, TikTokers have taken to the comment section of BarkBox’s videos to voice their opinions on the matter.
“Deleteing all my TikTok’s of my dog in case barkbox steals it 💀,” one user wrote.
“I know what you did pay her NOW,” another commented.
“Did Barkbox steal this video too?” wrote another.
“I think it’s time for barkbox to pay up and change their social media tactics🤭,” commented another.
“I’m never going to buy bark box again,” wrote another.
‘This is a situation that we do take seriously’
When reached for comment, a BARK spokesperson told In The Know by Yahoo, “This is a situation that we do take seriously. We are dog lovers, and we’re passionate about supporting dog-loving creators and their content. Our team has reached out directly to the creator on this matter.”
In The Know also spoke to CeCe, who stated, “I find it really important that small content creators have a voice and are properly paid for their work. … I’m still working with my team on how I want to proceed with the company.”
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