You Should Probably Skip the TikTok Silhouette Challenge

Illustration for article titled You Should Probably Skip the TikTok Silhouette Challenge
Image: Getty (Getty Images)

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.

Freelance writer & night blogger at Jezebel. Lover of television, astrology, and sandwiches.

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DISCUSSION

nameiwillregret
IRegertNothing

My tech ignorance may be on display here, but would putting red-tinted cellophane over the lens solve the problem? Perhaps a curtain of it between the camera and the subject? The only way I feel confident to make it work would be to use backlighting to directly film your shadow while you are behind and offset from the camera.

I’m putting way too much thought into this. Don’t use TikTok kids, and you won’t have to worry about it.