Investigation reveals TikTok algorithm promotes sexual content, drugs, and alcohol to kids



A recent investigation by the Wall Street Journal reported that TikTok algorithm directed kids as young as 13 to videos that promoted sexual content, drugs, and alcohol. The investigation, by the Journal, said that a 13-year-old searched ‘OnlyFans’ and was able to watch quite a few videos including a couple  that sold pornography.


When the same teenager checked the for you page on TikTok which is similar to a Twitter feed, the teenager could access more content that was sexually explicit. The content that appears on the for you page is similar to what a user views the most often or what a viewer spends time watching as the algorithm is set to display recommendations as per previous searches.


So, if a user spends time on watching sexual content, the short form video app keeps on showing more of such content. The age of the viewer mentioned in their profile makes no difference to the content offered.


The investigation did not include an actual teenager, but a series of bots were used to check the recommendations of TikTok. The ages in the profile ranged from 13 to 15 and the research was conducted to check whether the app differentiates between the content it show to adults and to kids. It did not.


The WSJ reporters sent these videos, which numbered almost a thousand, filled with sexual content, drugs, and adult related content to TikTok. The Journal reported that 225 of them were removed immediately. A TikTok spokesperson told them that other videos had been restricted and would not be recommended to young viewers, but no numbers were revealed by the company.


A TikTok spokesperson told the Daily Mail that although the activity and resulting experience of those bots in no way represented the behavior and viewing of a normal person, they were continually working to improve their systems.



The spokesperson added that they were reviewing the app and were looking at preventive measures that would also stop highly unusual viewing habits from “creating negative cycles” especially for their younger users and that they cared for their wellbeing and would invest more, so that there would be age-appropriate content.

Follow us on Google news for more updates and News


This content is being provided to you for informational purposes only. The content has been prepared by third parties not affiliated with CWEB Inc, a business. This content and any information contained therein, does not constitute a recommendation by CWEB to buy, sell or hold any security, financial product or instrument referenced in the content. This information neither is, nor should be construed as an offer, or a solicitation of an offer, to buy or sell securities by CWEB Inc. CWEB Inc. does not offer or provide any opinion regarding the nature, potential, value, suitability or profitability of any particular investment or investment strategy, and you shall be fully responsible for any investment decisions you make, and such decisions will be based solely on your evaluation of your financial circumstances, investment objectives, risk tolerance, and liquidity needs.

Unless stated otherwise, the web content provided by the CWEB family of companies is for educational purposes only. The information and tools provided neither are, nor should be construed, as an offer, or a solicitation of an offer, to buy or sell securities by CWEB Inc. or its affiliates. Unless stated otherwise, no information presented constitutes a recommendation by CWEB Inc. or its affiliates to buy, sell or hold any security, financial product or instrument discussed therein or to engage in any specific investment strategy.

Full Disclaimer