Chinese children get a version of TikTok that promotes educational topics like math and science.
We've just learned that it only takes ten minutes after creating a "sexually frustrated" account for TikTok to start pushing suicide videos to the user.
Research published by corporate accountability group Ekō shows what happened when nine different new TikTok accounts were set up with a listed age of 13 years old. The group then mimicked the behavior of "incels," or involuntary celibates. Involuntary celibates are an online community of "young men who formed a bond around their lack of sexual success with women."
Maen Hammad, Ekō campaigner and co-author of the research, said that within ten minutes of learning the fake accounts' characteristics, TikTok was pushing suicide videos, noting:
Ten minutes and a few clicks on TikTok is all that is needed to fall into the rabbit hole of some of the darkest and most harmful content online.
"The algorithm forces you into a spiral of depression, hopelessness, and self-harm, and it’s terribly difficult to get out of that spiral once the algorithm thinks it knows what you want to see," Hammad concluded. "It’s extremely alarming to see how easy it is for children to fall into this spiral."