It was when my generation was growing up that the internet started to become a resource for medical advice as opposed to, you know, making an appointment with your doctor. People began using resources like WebMD to research their symptoms and trick themselves into believing that they had a worse disease than they actually had at the time. Nowadays, doctors and medical professionals tend to offer free advice on TikTok for folks to consider when checking in on their own physical health.
But one thing remains constant in an era of internet-based medical research. It can be difficult to separate genuine medical advice from baseless falsehoods. In fact, people continue to be led astray by folks with massive follower accounts who try to convey their medical experience to others, regardless of its legitimacy. That's where Matthew Lani finds himself. What happened to the rising TikTok star? Let's break down the drama.
Matthew Lani was exposed for his false medical experience.
In case you aren't aware, Matthew Lani (better known as Dr. Matthew or @dr.matthew8 on TikTok) is a rising South Africa-based TikTok star. Among his trendy content and life updates, some of his videos feature himself showing off his position as a doctor. Not only does he refer to himself as "Dr. Matthew" and a medical practitioner in these videos, but he has also recorded himself in PPE gear.
From the outset, anyone on the internet would believe that he is a doctor and he seems to have made no effort to refute that. In fact, he seems to have perpetuated this idea all throughout his uploads. However, the jig seems to be up.
On Sunday, Oct. 29, Matthew was arrested in South Africa. According to an official statement by the Gauteng Department of Health, he was apprehended at a Johannesburg hospital while impersonating a doctor. At the time of his arrest, he was reportedly wearing a hoodie, surgical mask, and stethoscope. Matthew even attempted to escape arrest by sneaking out of a bathroom, but was apprehended once again.
Subsequently, he deleted his initial TikTok account with more than 300,000 followers and started a new one that now has over 61,000 followers as of this writing.
Two days after his arrest, BBC reported that Matthew was actually released from his arrest. Reportedly, the National Prosecuting Authority had no official evidence to charge him with impersonating a doctor. However, his claim that he received a medical degree from the University of Witwatersrand was proven false after investigation.
However, several reports claim that he offered medical advice and even sold medication under his first TikTok profile, which could have warranted formal charges.
As of Nov. 1, he is currently still under investigation and is being pursued by medical professionals for fraud.