TikTok is banning users who are posting pornographic and violent videos as their profile pictures to circumvent moderation, in a unique viral trend.BBC News alerted the app to the "Don't search this up," craze, which has accumulated nearly 50 million views.
Tom added he had reported multiple users to the app for posting the offensive profile-picture videos.On the platform users can put videos as their profile pictures, rather than a still image.
The offending accounts are often named with a random jumble of letters and words and have no actual TikTok videos uploaded to them apart from inside the profile box.
Regular users are able to find these accounts by watching otherwise mundane TikTok videos advertising usernames people should "search up" to find the most shocking clips.
"TikTok has a rather positive reputation when it comes to trust and safety so I would not fault them for not having moderation policies and tools for a toxic phenomenon they were not aware of," Roi Carthy, from social-media moderation company L1ght, said. "Clearly TikTok is working to stop this trend - but for users, as always, vigilance is key. "TikTok fans should be conscious of the risks on the platform and parents should make an effort to learn what new apps their children are using, along with the content and human dynamics they are exposed to."
A spokesman for the company said: "We have permanently banned accounts that attempted to circumvent our rules via their profile photo and we have disabled hashtags including #dontsearchthisup. "Our safety team is continuing their analysis and we will continue to take all necessary steps to keep our community safe."