TikTok removes a graphic video depicting a girl's beheading after users said they were 'traumatized' by the footage

TikTok removes a graphic video depicting a girl's beheading after users said they were 'traumatized' by the footage
·3 min read
An iPhone user looks at the TikTok app on the Apple App Store in January 2021. Lorenzo Di Cola/NurPhoto via Getty Images
  • TikTok said that it had removed a graphic video from its platform, as well as re-uploads of it.

  • Users have been warning each other on the platform about a video of a beheading.

  • The graphic video began with footage of a person dancing, according to Newsweek.

  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

TikTok said that it has removed a violent, graphic video from the platform that depicted a beheading and prompted users to post videos warning each other of its presence on the app's For You Page. According to TikTok, the video is no longer circulating on the platform.

Newsweek reported that the since-removed video began with footage of a girl dancing before cutting to the graphic clip, which reportedly showed a person being beheaded by a group of men in a bathroom. The graphic video was previously uploaded on another website before it was posted on TikTok, a TikTok representative said.

Insider was unable to independently identify the origin of the video. French news site Libération reported that it first surfaced online in 2019, with Newsweek reporting that it had previously been hosted on gore websites.

Social media screenshots, as well as other publications including Libération, appear to show that the video was originally posted by the account @mayengg03, which no longer exists.

"We appreciate the concerted effort by our community warn about an unconscionably graphic clip from another site that was spliced into a video and brought onto TikTok," a TikTok spokesperson told Insider in a statement.

"The original video was quickly removed, and our systems are proactively detecting and blocking attempted re-uploads of the clip to catch malicious behavior before the content can receive views. We apologize to those in our community, including our moderators, who may have come upon this content."

While TikTok says the video is no longer circulating on the platform, the platform is still full of chatter about the graphic video, with users warning each other about it. One audio uploaded by TikTok user @mr.wyeet warns users about the gruesome content and it has been used in nearly 1,500 other videos.

"[I] can't believe i just watched a girl get her head cut off. people are sick. i'm traumatized," TikTok user @ohheythereitstori wrote in an on-screen caption in a video posted one week ago.

"[A]fter watching a beheading video on tiktok's front page i don't [sic] think im using that app anymore," Twitter user @MikeCatSU wrote in a tweet.

Per TikTok's own community guidelines, the platform does not allow "gratuitously shocking, graphic, sadistic, or gruesome" content that "promotes, normalizes, or glorifies extreme violence or suffering on our platform." The guidelines explicitly prohibit content involving humans that shows "violent or graphic deaths or accidents," among other types of violence.

TikTok has previously worked to remove graphic content from its platform, including one clip that BBC News reported was circulating in September 2020 and showed a man dying by suicide.

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