A 16-year-old from Pittsburgh has gone viral for deciding to film and post a TikTok immediately following a car accident she had two weeks ago.
Katie Cornetti recounted the terrifying moment to BuzzFeed News this week, adding that the TikTok was a way for her and her friends to "cope" with the shock of the situation.
The frivolity of the TikTok, and then ones she posted days after, continuing to joke about the accident, seemed OK only because Cornetti and her two friends in the car with her sustained no serious injuries, she said.
"We saw [the window] shatter and we look at each other, and were like, 'Are you OK? Are you OK?' Once we figured out we were all OK, we started laughing," she said. "We're best friends and this is how we coped together."
On the day of the accident, Cornetti's friend Marissa was driving, and Cornetti was riding in the passenger seat. They made a turn on a winding road "and the car rolled over," she said. Apparently, one of Marissa's car tires was not mounted properly.
Other than a bruise to her lip from her phone hitting her face as the car rolled over, she and her friends came out of it unscathed. All three passengers had their seatbelts on.
"While we were sitting there ... waiting for the police to come, for some reason in my mind I was like, I should make a TikTok, why not, I have nothing better to do," said Cornetti. "I picked the first song and made a random TikTok."
"That was the first thing that came to mind...to do that," she added. "It really was scary...But we decided let’s do this to get our minds off of it, and honestly it helped a lot."
The TikTok has now been liked by hundreds of thousands of users. It's been shared widely enough on the platform that Cornetti said one of her friends from Ohio texted her saying she came across it on the app. People seem to be liking and sharing it out of pure shock and bafflement by both the accident and the decision to post about it humorously on social media.
But after popular YouTuber Zane Hijazi screen-recorded and shared it on Twitter, the video really went viral.
Cornetti said she was in school — and coincidentally wearing Hijazi's merchandise at the time — when she discovered the YouTuber had tweeted about it.
"I was freaking out," she said. "I didn't expect it to blow up as much as it did."
However, the reactions on Twitter were more harsh. People criticized the teens, saying there is apparently no limit to what people will do to chase clout these days.
"Social media is toxic," one person wrote.
Cornetti told BuzzFeed News she has not been reading a majority of the comments and backlash.
"The comments are not really bothering me 'cause who does make a TikTok after a car crash?" she asked. "We are perfectly fine, we got really lucky."
She also pointed out that a lot of her peers have commented that they "would have done the same thing ... 'cause that's how we cope with things."
"There was not much we could do to make anything better, so that's what we decided to do," she said. "Literally the week before I got into a small car accident I was freaking out and crying — that was not the best way to cope with anything."
She added: "[Social media] is distracting...in ways, it's bad distracting, but it helped us get out of the real world for a second and helped us calm down. I would never have said that before this."
Cornetti said her parents are not upset with her TikTok. "No one's really mad; we all have it as a joke," she said.