A cyber safety expert has warned parents to keep their children off TikTok today as a highly distressing video is being hidden in other innocuous content.
The video sharing platform is scrambling to remove videos of a man who tragically live-streamed his own death on Facebook, which is being circulated by users.
Child safety advocate Susan McLean has posted a warning on her Facebook page, telling parents the video is often hidden in innocent-looking content such as cat videos.
She warned: “There is a video on TikTok of a man live streaming his suicide. Please ensure you do not allow your older teens on the app today if they have it.
“It is apparently now on Insta but they are at least removing accounts posting it.
“Check in with your kids today. They most likely will know about it.
“It is also being hidden behind cat videos as well.
“Apparently it’s coming up in the ‘For you’ section so please let kids know NOT to watch anything that’s prompted.
“It often shows a male with glasses.”
The ‘For you’ page is the entry point of the app, and automatically generates suggested videos based on popular content and viewing history.
Users have reported seeing the video on the suggested content section, with one writing on social media: “I was scrolling TikTok and suddenly there’s a video of a guy that killed themselves and I am seriously warning you DO NOT watch it DO NOT SEARCH FOR IT because it’s very terrifying and gory so pls BE CAREFUL god damn I’m shaking.”
A TikTok spokesperson said: “On Sunday night, clips of a suicide that had been livestreamed on Facebook circulated on other platforms, including TikTok.
“Our systems have been automatically detecting and flagging these clips for violating our policies against content that displays, praises, glorifies, or promotes suicide.
“We are banning accounts that repeatedly try to upload clips, and we appreciate our community members who’ve reported content and warned others against watching, engaging, or sharing such videos on any platform out of respect for the person and their family.
“If anyone in our community is struggling with thoughts of suicide or concerned about someone who is, we encourage them to seek support, and we provide access to hotlines directly from our app and in our Safety Centre.”
For emotional support, you can call the Samaritans 24-hour helpline on 116 123, email email@example.com, visit a Samaritans branch in person or go to the Samaritans website.