TikTok users can use a private posting login to post sexually explicit materials of minors, skirting the social media platform’s rule against posting such content, according to a Forbes report.
Posted in private accounts can use a setting visible only to a select few that have the login information. Under this setting, illegal child sexual abuse can be posted right under the nose of TikTok’s content moderators.
Forbes identified a significant volume of post-in-private accounts that pop up as soon as others are banned. (RELATED: Mark Zuckerberg Takes The Blame For Historic Meta Layoffs: REPORT)
TikTok’s policies, “prohibit content that depicts or disseminates child abuse, child nudity, or sexual exploitation of children in digital or real world format.”
“There’s quite literally accounts that are full of child abuse and exploitation material on their platform, and it’s slipping through their AI,” Seara Adair, a child sexual abuse survivor and a TikTok influencer. “Not only does it happen on their platform, but quite often it leads to other platforms—where it becomes even more dangerous.”
Private accounts on TikTok have become portals to some of the most dangerous and disturbing content on the internet.
Many contain child sexual abuse material hidden in plain sight—posted using a setting that makes it visible only to the person logged in:https://t.co/RgLb9aJBR3
— Alexandra S. Levine (@Ali_Lev) November 14, 2022
TikTok told Forbes they prohibit accounts and content that mention “post to private,” but users can use slang and shorthand words such as “priv” and “prvt” to find the accounts. After Forbes flagged the issue to TikTok, the social media company blocked some other hashtags and searches and pulled up the message,”This content may be associated with sexualized content of minors. Creating, viewing, or sharing this content is illegal and can lead to severe consequences.”
Facebook has also some under fire for child sexual predation that occurs on their platform. A Wired report from March revealed how Facebook algorithms were “working to expand, not reduce, child endangerment.”
A Federal Human Trafficking Report from 2020 found that Facebook was the most popular platform for predators grooming child victims, with Instagram and Snapchat following at 14% and 8% respectively.