(Dmytro “Henry” Aleksandrov, Headline USA) TikTok — the most downloaded social media app that is also the most popular among kids and teenagers — became the largest social media platform that pedophiles use to exploit children.
One of these people, a 42-year-old Alabama man, awaits trial in Texas for sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl he found on the platform, according to the Wall Street Journal. TikTok deactivated the account of this man after the publication contacted the Chinese Communist-controlled app about the information on his case and how this sexual deviant was able to pursue the teen girl on the platform.
Erin Burke of the Department of Homeland Security, who also used to be a leader of the child exploitation unit, said that the platform is often used by pedophiles and other predators to find children to exploit.
On the US version of the platform, many of the videos show children and teenagers doing dance routines, reacting videos, singing or simply venting about their lives on their TikTok channels. The platform makes it very easy for sexual deviants to find vulnerable children by simply finding and watching the small clips of children on the platform, which would force the algorithm to “feed” them more content about children.
“You have young kids dancing and showing their lives all over TikTok. It makes it a one-stop shop for people looking to exploit them,” a Waco police detective said.
Even though the app allows its users to restrict their content to only family and friends, it doesn’t work because people who use the app prefer to keep their channels public so that they would get more followers and views.
The social media company said that they seek to protect young users by screening posts and comments via AI and machine learning tools, even though humans review the content too if it rises to a substantial enough level. TikTok also asks new users to submit their birthdays, but since there is no verification process, the whole thing simply doesn’t work.
After the Journal reached out to TikTok for the comments, the company’s global head of risk and response operations said that “child sexual abuse and exploitation abhorrent” and said that when the company becomes aware of such content, ‘we take immediate action to remove it, terminate accounts, and report cases’ to the appropriate authorities.'”