TikTok had a bug with which it showed porn and extreme violence


It is a viral trend that has been exposed by the BBC.

TikTok is banning users who use pornographic and violent videos as profile picture to bypass moderation controls.

The BBC informed the app about the practice, called “Don’t search this up,” which has accumulated more than 50 million of interactions.

Users of the short video platform say it’s about encouraging pranksters to post the most offensive or disgusting material they can find online.

The BBC has found pornography videos hardcore shared as profile pictures of some users, as well as a video from the Islamic State group showing the assassination of Jordanian pilot Muadh al-Kasasbeh.

TikTok too has banned hashtags used to promote offensive profiles and it is deleting the videos.

“TikTok takes years to act”

Tom, a teenager from Germany whose last name we agreed not to publish, was the one who first alerted the BBC to the trend.

“I have seen pornography gore Y hardcore, Y I’m really worried about this as a lot of kids use TikTok, He said.

“I am particularly concerned that there are posts with millions of views that specifically target these profiles, but TikTok takes years to act ”.

TikTok profiles with offensive content
TikTok allows you to use a video or a still image as a profile photo. (Photo: sonicle / bbc)

The young German explained that he had denounced several users for posting offensive videos as profile photos.

Videos about this trend They have been published in English and Spanish.

The usernames of the offending accounts are often a random mix of letters and words, and they do not have original videos uploaded by them, only the ones from the profile picture.

Some of the accounts have tens of thousands of followers They wait several seconds for the profile picture to change to something shocking.

The BBC tried to speak to a user who posted an explicit video on his profile, but received no response.

Any user can find them

Regular users they can be exposed to find these accounts just by watching videos on TikTok. At one point, those videos show the username that people should “search” to find a shocking video.

Some of these videos are being recommended by the TikTok algorithm on the main page called “For you” in the application.

TikTok profiles with offensive content
The trend has been seen in both English and Spanish videos. (Photo: sonicle / BBC)

Experts say the trend highlights an unknown vulnerability on TikTok.

“TikTok has a pretty positive reputation when it comes to trust and safety, so I don’t blame them for not having moderation policies and tools for a toxic phenomenon they weren’t aware of, ”said Roi Carthy of social media moderation company L1ght.

“Clearly, TikTok is working to stop this trend, but for users, as always, vigilance is key ”, he added.

“TikTok fans should be aware of the risks on the platform and parents should make an effort to know what new apps your kids are using, along with the content and the human dynamics to which they are exposed ”.

TikTok is one of the fastest growing apps in the world, with an estimated 700 million monthly active users worldwide.

A mobile with the TikTok application
TikTok has about 700 million users per month. (Photo: Getty Images)

A company spokesperson said: “We have permanently banned accounts that they tried to circumvent our rules through your profile picture and we have disabled the hashtags, included #dontsearchthisup.

“Our security team continues its analysis and we will continue to take all necessary measures to keep our community safe.”

Disable a tag or hashtag meant the term cannot be found in search or created again, TikTok added.

Also their moderation teams are parsing and removing similar words that are used to circumvent the veto.

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