A report published recently raises questions about social media and its impact on youth mental health by claiming that TikTok’s algorithms are recommending videos on self-harm and eating disorders to vulnerable teens.
TikTok fake profiles representing teenagers from the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia were constructed by researchers at the Center for Countering Digital Hate. Later, researchers using the accounts “liked” videos about self-harm and eating disorders to gauge TikTok’s algorithm’s reaction.
The massively popular platform recommended weight loss and self-harm videos within minutes, some of which included images of models with idealized bodies, razors, and even suicide.
“It’s like being stuck in a hall of distorted mirrors where you’re constantly being told you’re ugly, you’re not good enough, maybe you should kill yourself,” said Imran Ahmed, center’s CEO “It is literally pumping the most dangerous possible messages to young people.”.