Perverts Are Ruining the Silhouette Challenge
Trends come and go on TikTok, but the #SilhouetteChallenge may have the app’s shortest lifespan after dark corners of the internet decided to ruin the fun. Using a red light filter from Snapchat, users have been pairing sultry, silhouetted videos of their bodies with a mash-up of Paul Anka’s “Put Your Head On My Shoulder” and Doja Cat’s “Streets.” But now tutorials have popped up in forums and on YouTube to digitally alter the lighting in the videos, removing the filter and revealing users’ nude or minimally clad bodies without their consent.
In order to achieve the optimal silhouette for the videos, many users are stripping down to their underwear. The silhouette obscures the details and allows them to maintain their privacy—they never intended, in other words, for people to see the parts of their bodies that the filter covered. The tutorials are a violation of this privacy, and put of-age and underage participants alike at risk.
“Hey guys, so I’m a photographer and I keep seeing the silhouette challenge on my For You page,” a user on TikTok said in a video last week that has since gone viral. “Just make sure you’re being cognizant of what you’re wearing...anyone can easily take those images and revert them back to the original.”
According to Buzzfeed, social media platforms like Reddit and Twitter are attempting to combat the creepy tutorials. The subreddit r/SilhouetteUnfiltered was banned, as well as at least two Twitter accounts that were taking requests for TikToks to edit and post.
But YouTube seems to have been slow on the uptake, despite this being a clear violation of their policy against “non-consensual sex acts or unwanted sexualization.” Searching for how to remove the filter yields tons of results that have been live for as long as five days, and while those that allow comments are often riddled with criticism and calls to take the video down, they still have thousands, and in some cases hundreds of thousands, of views.