Ignore the Scary TikTok Videos: Cash Is Not Going Away – The Motley Fool

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by Dana George | Published on Oct. 29, 2022
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Scary news may make people click on a video, but it also makes them less financially savvy.
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You know what sells? Fear and blood. One of the first terms I learned early in my news career was, “If it bleeds, it leads.” In other words, we’d drop all the happy “dog saves boy from well” stories if there was a particularly gruesome incident to cover.
Nothing has really changed since those early days of the printing press (just kidding; I actually started shortly after the printing press was invented). There will always be someone who tries to scare you into clicking on a story or watching a TikTok video. The more clicks, the more ad sales. The more ad sales, the more income.
It’s a vicious cycle.

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The most recent example of this is a TikTok video sent by a friend. It featured three attractive 20 (or 30)-somethings talking about how FedNow — a new Federal Reserve program due to launch next year — is going to change life as we know it.
The very serious young woman spreading the fearsome news goes on to say that FedNow is a way for the federal government to know how you’re spending your money. In fact, she claims the government will shut off your access to funds if you spend money on the “wrong things,” like fossil fuels.
At first, the guys sitting to her right appear somewhat disinterested, but as her passion picks up, so does their interest. After a few minutes, both gentlemen are adding to the conspiracy theory. Here’s some of what they’re telling viewers is going to happen:
Again, trauma sells. The more TikTok creators scare people, the more those people will come to them for advice. I would like to think that they’re true conspiracy theorists, because that would be preferable to the alternative: That they’re deliberately taking advantage of people by spreading false information.
In answer to each piece of somewhat hysterical (but poorly researched) information, here’s what the new FedNow Service will mean to you:
One thing humans avoid like the plague is change. Change feels unpredictable and scary — even good change. According to banks signing on to the FedNow Service, this change will be good for all of us. Business owners will no longer have to wait for payments to clear. Homeowners can pay an electric bill and know their account is immediately up to date. It’s all about the Federal Reserve moving into the 21st century and making it easier for all of us to do business as usual.
The moral of the story is twofold: The FedNow Service is an example of the Federal Reserve trying to keep up with the times by providing instant service. The other moral of the story? For the love of all that’s good, do not get your news from random people on TikTok.
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Dana has been writing about personal finance for more than 20 years, specializing in loans, debt management, investments, and business.
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