Incident 279: TikTok’s “For You” Algorithm Exposed Young Users to Pro-Eating Disorder Content

Description: TikTok’s young users were allegedly exposed to community-guideline-violating pro-eating disorder content on their algorithmically curated “For You” page that serves videos from any user on its platform.


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Alleged: TikTok developed and deployed an AI system, which harmed TikTok young users and TikTok users.

Incident Stats

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Khoa Lam
TikTok Is Filled With Pro-Eating Disorder Content, Despite Its Own Rules · 2020

A TikTok spokesperson didn't answer questions from BuzzFeed News about how the company polices videos on the platform, but reaffirmed its commitment to getting rid of them.

The app's "Need Help?" page provides contacts for the United States…

It's almost impossible to avoid triggering content on TikTok · 2020

TikTok's algorithm is almost too good at suggesting relatable content — to the point of being detrimental for some users' mental health.

It's nearly impossible to avoid triggering content on TikTok, and because of the nature of the app's ne…

TikTok self-harm study results ‘every parent’s nightmare’ · 2022

TikTok’s recommendation algorithm pushes self-harm and eating disorder content to teenagers within minutes of them expressing interest in the topics, research suggests.

The Center for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH) found that the video-shar…


A "variant" is an incident that shares the same causative factors, produces similar harms, and involves the same intelligent systems as a known AI incident. Rather than index variants as entirely separate incidents, we list variations of incidents under the first similar incident submitted to the database. Unlike other submission types to the incident database, variants are not required to have reporting in evidence external to the Incident Database. Learn more from the research paper.

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