February 10, 2020

As TikTok Fails to Remove Exploiters from the App, Users Are Starting to Revolt

TikTok’s users have increasingly taken it upon themselves to “out” sexual exploiters using the popular video social media app because TikTok has fallen short of ridding the platform from those who prey upon young minors.

As Buzzfeed reports: “One of the most popular kinds of videos from TikTok’s users, who are mostly young and female, are lip-synch videos, where they dance and sing along with their favorite songs. These performances are sometimes sexualized by older men who lurk on the app, sending the young creators explicit messages and, in some cases, remixing the videos and dancing along with them via a TikTok feature called “duet”.”

Buzzfeed also interviewed an 18-year-old young woman who used the app, and she stated: “If some creepy guy just keeps liking videos of younger girls doing similar audios or soundtracks or hashtags, those are going to keep coming up on his ‘For You’ page. So it’s easier for him to find more victims. And I think that’s what makes it so easy for predators to come on it and victimize young children.”

This is similar to the algorithm problems YouTube had in early 2019, which are problems it continues to struggle with.

Buzzfeed also interviewed a 19-year-old who explained that the responses by TikTok when things are reported for abuse are extremely inconsistent. This user stated, “You can report a video of an old man licking at a 10-year-old girl and it won’t get taken down. But if you post a video saying, ‘Hey, block these people if your kid is on the app and this person is on their For You page; block them now because they’re bad.’ They take down those videos. But they won’t take down the videos of the older creepy men.”

The problem is so bad that a Change.org petition was created in order to rid the platform of a specific exploiter who had targeted several young girls because TikTok did nothing to shut down his account.

As Business Insider reports:

…certain users lack faith in the platform’s ability to protect them. They describe TikTok as slow to act on banning abusive accounts or removing videos — and that’s when it acts at all.”

This lack of transparency and accountability when exploiters are reported to TikTok is unacceptable.

It’s time for TikTok to take responsibility

and keep its platform safe! Take action:

 

National Center on Sexual Exploitation

Founded in 1962, the National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) is the leading national organization exposing the links between all forms of sexual exploitation such as child sexual abuse, prostitution, sex trafficking and the public health crisis of pornography.

Further Reading

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