Tiktok’s stance on guns and gun-related material is clear: Do not post videos featuring firearms unless you are in an “environmental environment”. Unfortunately, that policy has not been implemented in any significant way. A quick look through its extensive social network of short, goofy clips portrays a different kind of picture – especially for a platform where a third of users are 14 years of age or younger.
Videos that demonstrate the process of manufacturing ammunition at home, 3D-printing guns, building hideouts for illegal weapons, personal armory visits, heavy shelling on the outside, and heavy rushes at Ticktock. Appear to do. In a cursory search, discovered dozens of such clips that clearly violated Tickcock’s community guidelines and, in many cases, managed to accumulate more than half a million views and hundreds of comments.
Most of these are not difficult to find. They are filed under common hashtags such as “#gun,” #pewpew, “” #freedomseeds, “” #glock, “and more that have billions of views.
More worryingly, the presence of firearm material has led to subculture and even torso inside the Tektok. For many teenagers on TikTok, owning a gun and bragging about it in the video has become a trend.
In one video, a young woman can be seen “romanticizing a man who wishes to buy a gun at the age of 18”. “Just bought my first AK on my 18th day,” one viewer comments. In another post titled “I am about 18”, a teenager shows off his bulletproof vest and ammunition.
Due to this growing interest in firearms content, Teaktok has an increasingly active community of weapons merchants and vendors, many of whom have found workyards for Tiktok’s restricted direct messaging facilities.
Since people can only chat privately at TickTalk if they follow each other, some gun business has started taking orders through the comments section.
One such video, reviewed by , asks a dealer to leave a comment to show their store’s most in-demand items and place an order to the public. Tikok downed the clip when we reported it, but by then, it had already implemented over 33,000 comments.
In a statement, Tiktok told that it “prohibits the trade, sale and promotion of weapons,” and “removes content and related accounts according to their identities.”
“We remove instructions on the manufacture of weapons to help secure the safety of our community,” the spokesman said.
However, this is not a blanket ban, and it is likely that it becomes difficult for Ticketock’s human intermediaries to decide which videos they can skip.
Tiktok allows material if it is “a part of the museum’s collection, carried by a police officer, in a military parade, or used in a safe and controlled environment such as a shooting range.” But what defines a shooting range? Tiktok declined to elaborate on that, but in a follow-up email, the spokesman said the decision “depends on the content” and the shooting ranges are one of several examples.
It is easy to see how these loosely-defined policies can be exploited to publish viral gun content. People are able to post videos of themselves shooting in their backyards, abandoned areas, and more without any restrictions or warnings.
Tiktok has not yet imposed any interaction limits on these videos, such as how many other social networks do for violent or graphic footage.
Media Matters, a non-profit media watchdog, addresses similar concerns and issues on Tiktok. In its research, it was discovered that Tiktok was hosting clips instructing users to work a handgun conversion kit – which allows the handgun to be fired from the shoulder like a rifle – and evades federal sanctions. The 2019 Dayton shooter employed such a workaround in mass shootings that led to nine deaths.
Media Matters wrote in a blog post, “Since Tiktok’s gun policies seem vague and contradictory, it is an impossible task to implement consistently.”
Tiktok now blocks a handful of hashtags that believe it only contains prohibited videos such as “#homemadepew” and “#homemadegun”. But since it can’t turn off hashtags such as “#Gagan”, which has more than 2 billion views, and often features harmless clips of gaming footage, the move has barely shut down the contents of the shotgun.
However, the disappearance of viral firearm material can have far more serious consequences than TicTalk.
In early 2020, an 18-year-old boy in India accidentally shot himself in the head while posing with a gun for a Tickcock video. A few months ago, a 20-year-old Mexican woman was accidentally shot while filming the Tickcock kidnapping prank. Actor Luckith Stanfield recently posted a video of himself pointing a gun at photographs of two men, one of which was FBI informant William O’Neill.
Tiktok has been in trouble many times for misrepresenting the privacy of children, and it is unclear whether it plans to enforce strict guidelines against the contents of the gun. As the video’s endless feed relies more on the algorithm you follow, it also runs the risk of inadvertently promoting problematic clips on your home page – as a horrific suicide video went viral last year. .
People are dying It is TikTok’s time to solve his gun control problem.