The latest TikTok trend, the silhouette challenge, involves users putting a red filter over videos of them dancing seductively—making it appear as though their shadow is dancing. Although the intent of the challenge, which uses a remix of the songs “Put Your Head on My Shoulder” by Paul Anka and “Streets” by Doja Cat, was seemingly just to give people a reason to be sexy while stuck indoors through a pandemic winter, people on the internet have once again ruined something fun by being creepy.
A number of truly awful people have been circulating instructions on how to use editing software or video editing apps to alter the contrast and color on these videos in a way that eliminates the silhouette effect of the filter—effectively exposing people’s often partially or fully nude bodies without their consent. Buzzfeed found that a quick search on YouTube reveals dozens of videos explaining how to remove the silhouette filter, and threads with similar content were also reportedly posted to Twitter and Reddit. A subreddit called r/SilhouetteUnfiltered, where users were posting edited Silhouette video challenges, has already been banned from the platform, and at least two Twitter accounts were suspended for the same reasons.
One photographer posted a PSA on TikTok warning people how easy it was to reverse the filter on the videos—and then shared a follow-up showing some of the comments she’d received on her first TikTok about how she was “ruining the fun.” What a disturbing reminder that some people think it’s “fun” to violate people by exposing their nude bodies to strangers on their internet without their consent.