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Social Media Trend Spurred by DRC Mines

Dozens of young adults on TikTok are vowing to throw out their e-cigarettes and quit vaping – but not for health reasons. DR Congo, a central African country, is the world’s main source of cobalt, a key component of the lithium-ion batteries used in mobile phones, electric vehicles and many models of e-cigarette. Dozens of armed groups have long plagued DR Congo’s mineral-rich east and this year heightened conflict has pushed the number of people forced to flee their homes to a record 6.9 million people, UN data shows. As reports of the recent unrest spread, social media users have been questioning the role international companies and consumers have in DR Congo’s woes. In September, a report from Amnesty International found multinational companies mining for copper and cobalt in DR Congo had forcefully evicted entire communities.