Starting yesterday, Instagram banned any TikTok user who posted videos of them self-administering nitrous oxide as a form of entertainment (yes, literally).
Based on recent evidence, TikTok, an application for social media sharing (except for TikTok, aka "how to make a viral video"), may be more dangerous than you thought it was.
TikTok, a cross between Instagram and YouTube with over 50 million users, is controlled by TNW, a subsidiary of Alibaba Group Holding Limited and a subsidiary of Chinese telecommunications company Tencent Holdings Limited, and so far, they have owned the story.
On December 15, TikTok CEO Jin Park announced the company would ban "all users who illegally share videos on the app that were shown them doing illegal activities such as administering nitrous oxide on themselves, stoned. . . , secretly taking photos of themselves unconscious."
The company, which didn't post the statement on their blog until a day later, had also reportedly removed the accounts of several TikTok users who had posted videos depicting themselves as clowns (throwing shadows, performing coquettes, and engaged in simulated licking activities).
On the day of his announcement, Park posted a video urging people to report any TikTok videos they saw potentially being misused: "If you have reports come to us, then we will investigate them thoroughly and do the right thing, too."
Good luck with that.
"People would love to understand how to properly play games, or convince friends to play with them. They would like to get creative in videos. And I think they’re eager to make unique content, but their content would probably be confusing to our community," said Park, moving away from his usual topic of doomsday scenarios.
Soon after the announcement, users began sending videos from accounts, where users appear to be laughing and generally behaving like a regular (and sensible) person, to other accounts in which they were required to commit illegal activities.
In these videos, the same users are being asked to "pretend that they have used NINA."
Users have even asked their followers to send them this "trick" and try to successfully upload a TikTok video, which could be tantamount to child pornography.
Video themes on TikTok:
After getting some information from users on TikTok, Instagram quickly responded with their own ban, effectively shutting down the platform to everyone associated with these videos. Instagram took in their stance:
"We're committed to protecting the safety of our community, including encouraging you to report content that you find disturbing, which we review quickly. We encourage you to continue sending photos and videos to the Instagram safety team as we review them."
To be clear, neither TikTok nor Instagram will be suspending any accounts, but the temporary ban means no more anonymous videos of unknown users acting inappropriately, which means that users will no longer be able to publish videos as a form of entertainment, just like everything else on the platform.
"In order to exercise your creativity and foster conversation, you should think about how you represent yourself and know that potentially illegal acts may be shared publicly," warned Instagram's Community Guidelines.
What this means for TikTok is that anyone hosting a video of themselves committing illegal activities with a tobacco product will have their account temporarily restricted.
Those who still wish to be able to take advantage of this unfettered access should try using Telegram instead, as it comes with a three-minute time restriction (presumably, and in regards to drug consumption, even longer than the breathalyzer).