TikTok has started banning users who have posted violent and pornographic videos as their profile pictures.
The ‘don’t search this up’ craze – which has almost 50 million views – and its corresponding hashtag have seen users bypassing moderation and then promoting offending profiles.
As reported by BBC News – which alerted the video sharing platform to the issue – the trend has encouraged people to share the most offensive or disgusting material possible.
The app lets users use videos as their profile picture instead of a still image.
It’s said that accounts in question – usually with a random selection of letters and words as their username – don’t have any videos uploaded besides the clips in the profile box, with tens of thousands of followers waiting to see the next shocking video.
These accounts are discoverable to other users who watch clips advertising usernames for people to search for.
In response, a TikTok spokesman 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.”
By disabling the hashtag, the company clarifies that the term can’t be found within the search or recreated.