The 21-year-old is the second most followed person on the app, with 90.2 million followers and more than 1.3 billion likes. Some analysts say he is on track to claim the top spot by overtaking the current most popular TikTokker, the American Charli D’Amelio.
Khaby was born in Senegal but now lives in Italy. He started his TikTok account in March 2020 during the pandemic after he lost his job at a factory. In his videos, he makes fun of so-called ‘viral life hacks’ which are widely circulated online and purport to show new and convenient ways of doing everyday things – but are almost always contrived or performative.
Khaby shows how impractical and useless most of them are, employing a deadpan style and trademark shrug.
In one clip, for instance, he mocks a video showing how the cardboard tube can be removed from the inside of a toilet roll and the paper taken from the centre, by showing how much easier it is to simply use the roll in the traditional manner.
Life hack videos are often regarded as clickbait, having been deliberately designed to ‘game’ algorithms and leverage the reader’s curiosity to click on links. TikTok itself now has around one billion monthly active users, and its app has been downloaded more than 2.6 billion times.