Here's Why You're Seeing "Rio de Janeiro" All Over TikTok Lately

Sara Belcher - Author

Jan. 18 2024, Published 5:14 p.m. ET

Not every trend you come across on TikTok will make sense right away. It seems no matter how many hours you spend scrolling through the app's never-ending feed, there are bound to be corners of TikTok with trends and slang that are simply confusing.

Recently, some TikTokers have noticed photo carousels either with the words "Rio de Janeiro" or tagged with the city in Brazil, despite seemingly having nothing to do with the South American city. So what does Rio de Janeiro mean to the TikTok kids?

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Why are so many videos tagged with #RiodeJaneiro on TikTok?

The Rio de Janeiro trend seems to confuse many of the app's regular users, with "What does Rio de Janeiro mean" being a consistently suggested search on TikTok.

"Basically Rio de Janeiro is a filter on Insta and [people] say it's so pretty any bad photo can be fixed with it or [something] like that," one user commented when asked to explain the trend. "That's why they use it to like 'fix' a problem or make it prettier."

An image with and without the Rio de Janeiro filter from Instagram
Source: Instagram / @sarakbelcher

An image with and without the Rio de Janeiro filter from Instagram

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The Rio de Janeiro filter adds a warm overlay to the image or video it's used on, saturating it with pinks, oranges, and purples.

Just as the commenter explained, the Rio de Janeiro trend is just people using the filter that's been a part of Instagram's stories feature for a long time. Sometimes users will apply the filter to their video before uploading it to TikTok, while others just believe it's one of the best filters on the app.

In some instances, users are applying the filter numerous times to a photo slideshow, which is meant to symbolize "that it'll always be the same," according to one commenter.

"It shows like how it hurts more or gets more vivid idk," another suggested.

Clearly, not everyone on TikTok is fully in agreement as to what exactly this trend means, so take all interpretations with a grain of salt.

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Of course, everyone has their personal preferences when it comes to Instagram filters, and plenty use other apps to edit their images and videos before posting them. For a time, VSCO was the most popular photo editing app, with plenty of pre-built filters for users to use. There were also additional premium filters for users who decided to purchase a subscription to VSCO, and for a time the "VSCO girl" aesthetic was huge, even inspiring some Halloween costumes at its peak.

TikTok is so filled with micro-trends that the VSCO girl look has since died down, being replaced by other niche trends like the mob wife aesthetic, coquette looks, or the still-prominent cottagecore.

If you're scrolling through your Instagram or TikTok feed, though, and see a video tagged with Rio de Janeiro, it probably means that it has the popular Instagram filter on it — unless it's obviously about the city in Brazil, as there are still plenty of posts actually about Rio on the app.

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