What Does December 22 Mean on TikTok? Let's Unpack This NSFW Incident

Kelly Corbett - Author

Aug. 15 2023, Published 12:17 p.m. ET

@noahglenncarter explains dec 22 incident
Source: TikTok / @noahglenncarter

The gist:

  • The December 22 incident refers to Dec. 22, 2022, the date when TikTok users realized they could skirt the app's standards and post sexually explicit content using the slideshow feature, which went viral and ended up, well, everywhere.
  • Reportedly, by Dec. 25, the content had been cleaned up.
  • "December 22" has reached meme status and many know it as the "most infamous day in TikTok history."
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What were you doing on Dec. 22, 2022? While many folks were probably gearing up for the holidays and spending time with their families, other folks were having a NSFW field day on TikTok. This date marks a significant event in the app’s history where things went off the rails.

Below, we explain what went down on Dec. 22, 2022, in the TikTok world and why it's such a big deal.

tiktok app open on an iphone
Source: Getty Images
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What does December 22 mean? On that date in 2022, a rare incident occured.

If you go on TikTok often, you may have heard some folks reference the December 22 incident but weren't sure what they were talking about. Creator Noah Glenn Carter (@noahglenncarter) explains in a video why this date is known “as the most infamous day in TikTok history.”

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“On that day, many TikTok users found out they could post corn if they posted the corn using TikTok’s slideshow effect," he said. (Note: Corn is code for sexually explicit content).

“The corn went mega, mega, viral," he continued. "For some reason, TikTok’s algorithm started recommending it to everyone on the app, and videos that were just straight corn were getting millions upon millions of views and many of them weren’t even getting taken down."

According to Know Your Meme, this graphic content continued to circulate on the platform for a few days. By Dec. 25, 2022, it seemingly had been all cleaned up.

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According to Noah, there is no official explanation as to how this incident happened. But he has a theory as to why things got so out of hand on that date specifically.

"You see this incident happened right before Christmas," he explained in the same video. "And because of this, I believe many of the people in charge of moderation at TikTok had been given Christmas off so they weren’t at the office to stop this when it did happen."

Noah also noted that TikTok never fully terminated this explicit content issue as similar incidents to this, on a much smaller scale, have continued to occur. For example, many filters such as the now-removed Pokémon 777 would show users corn when used.

Furthermore, Noah believes inappropriate content will continue to make its way onto the platform, much to TikTok's chagrin. “Just remember that December 22 is where it all began," he says at the end of his video.

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