Tea accounts, also known as tea channels or drama channels, are a rising class of social media accounts on YouTube, Twitter, and Instagram that report on the latest news and gossip on the internet. These content creators are known to create an eco-system of drama and further escalate online scandals. While mainstream news outlets often fail to to report news on influencers and internet celebrities, tea accounts have capitalized on this opportunity to meet the great demand for such news stories.
The origin of the name comes from tea which is slang for juicy information.
With the uprise of social media and internet celebrities, the demand for news outlets to report on influencers has drastically grown over the past couple of years. Mainstream media, however, continues to ignore or patronize the influence of online celebs. In the year 2014, accounts such as the Shade Room and Keemstar DramaAlert stepped in to meet this demand. Their tremendous growth, along with the rise of stan accounts gave birth to the current tea-industrial complex. Since then, several other tea accounts have emerged such as Tea Spill, Spill Sesh, The Viewer's Voice, Hot Tea, and Here For The Tea. Many of these tea accounts, which are often run by teenagers, have become massive media empires followed by millions of viewers and have garnered their own fanbase.
Much like celebrities and news outlets, tea accounts and influencers have a synergetic relationship. The more gossip and news stories online influencers manufacture, the more there is to cover on tea accounts. The more tea accounts cover an influencer, the more relevant that person becomes.
Tea accounts on YouTube earn revenue from Google Adsense. Many have supplemented their income from brand sponsorships, affiliate programs, and third party memberships. According to Social Blade, Tea Spill, one of the biggest tea accounts on YouTube, reportedly earns up to $25,000 in a single month from ads.
Tea accounts have been heavily criticized on the internet and media for encouraging gossip and fuelling influencer feuds and scandals. One of the biggest internet feuds in history between Beauty YouTuber beauty vloggers James Charles and Tati Westbrook was infamously blown out of proportion due to tea channels painstakingly documenting every incremental update on the feud and shared them live. While this feud was covered by mainstream media outlets such as CNN, both Tati and James released their statements to tea channels on YouTube such as Here For The Tea. Many tea accounts on YouTube have been accused of copyright infringement due to using content from other creators to commentate on. While fair use laws permits the use of copyrighted material for the purpose of research, education, criticism, review or news reporting, many YouTube creators have been known to issue copyright strikes against tea channels that have reported negatively on them.
- Lorenz, Taylor (2019-05-16). "How Tea Accounts Are Fueling Influencer Feuds". The Atlantic. Retrieved 2020-11-10.
- insights, YPulse Inc-Youth research and. "Millions Of Gen Z And Millennials Follow These Tea Accounts For Celebrity Gossip". Retrieved 2020-11-10.
- "Tea Spill's YouTube Stats (Summary Profile) - Social Blade Stats". socialblade.com. Retrieved 2020-11-10.
- Nkadi, Ashley (2019-09-09). "How the Gossip Girls of YouTube Dominate Digital Discourse". Medium. Retrieved 2020-11-10.
- "YouTuber said she paid $500 to Trisha Paytas for a shoutout—now her channel might be deleted". The Daily Dot. 2019-12-20. Retrieved 2020-11-10.
- "YouTube channel Hot Tea at risk of deletion after Trisha Paytas copy strikes". Reclaim The Net. 2019-12-21. Retrieved 2020-11-10.
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