No, "TB" Doesn't Refer to Tuberculosis on TikTok

Wondering what "TB" means on TikTok? So are a lot of other people. It's apparently shorthand for "throwback." But how do most people use it?

Mustafa Gatollari - Author

Mar. 24 2021, Published 12:18 p.m. ET

TB on TikTok
Source: TikTok

Understanding shorthand e-speak is generally a pretty easy endeavor. Sure you've got a bunch of old fogeys, like me, who will want to hate on anything new and unfamiliar, but there are some terminologies that are fairly straightforward, like /hj and /j on TikTok. But then there are terms that are a little more difficult to figure out. For example, what does TB mean on TikTok?

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TB may not mean what you think it does on TikTok.

The shorthand /hj means half-joking, /j means joking, and /s means sarcasm, and so on and so forth. Those are pretty easy to understand. Following this logic, you would assume that the TB means tuberculosis...or maybe "truth be told" or truffle butter... Who the heck knows?

But to understand what TB means requires a little bit of an understanding of the nature of social media posting.

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Some people broadly define TB as shorthand for one's online "legacy," and while that may sound like it makes no sense whatsoever, it does when you consider what TB is an abbreviation of: "throwback." 

So if you're posting an older video from your camera roll or maybe are trying to get some more eyes on a previous post that you thought didn't get enough love, putting TB in the caption will let folks know that the clip or picture isn't as recent as some may think.

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There are tons of examples of the hashtag being implemented all over social media, whether it's on TikTok, Instagram, or Facebook.

But the shorthand phrase often carries some heartwarming implications with it. Uploaders will sometimes include the caption in posts honoring old friends, family members, or a location that they're yearning for from their past.

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What does "TB" mean on Snapchat? It's the same thing.

While back in the day of alpha-numeric keypads on flip phones, "TB" meant "text back," these days it's pretty much understood that it's a "throwback" of sorts. That is true of whatever social media platform you're using, including Snapchat.

The yellow-and-white Ghost-branded application is managing to expand its user base with its Spotlight feature.

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The new app isn't exactly rivaling TikTok or Instagram Reels, but there are plenty of Snapchat users who are constantly uploading clips in the hopes of getting themselves some of that sweet, sweet cash Snap's giving out on the daily. In fact, there are tons of people who've already managed to make life-changing amounts of dough on Spotlight.

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Who knows, maybe in a few years they'll be uploading clips of the videos that earned them the most amount of money or helped pave the way to them becoming e-celebs, and they'll include #TB in the caption along with a story of how important that particular video was to them. Hey, in the words of Ellie Goulding, "Anything could happen."

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