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Silhouette Challenge
Source: TIkTok

The Internet Officially Ruined TikTok's Viral #SilhouetteChallenge

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Feb. 1 2021, Published 6:44 p.m. ET

A new trend has once again taken over TikTok. This time it’s not a silly dance or delicious recipe (Ahem, hello hot chocolate bombs!). It’s actually called the Silhouette Challenge, and what was once a challenge to promote body positivity and sexual exploration has turned into something of a nightmare. 

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A certain corner of the internet has figured out how to remove the red filter from the videos, essentially making the videos unfiltered and the subject's body visible for anyone to see. There are even YouTube videos that give tutorials on how to remove the red filter. So, how did this all start? We have all the details.

The Silhouette Challenge started as a positive movement.

The #silhouettechallenge trend spread from TikTok to other social media platforms, like Twitter and Instagram, and garnered a total of 221.8 million views on TikTok alone since its inception. According to The Tab, the viral challenge revolves around the subject dancing in front of the camera to a slowed down version of the doo-wop song, "Put Your Head on My Shoulder" by The Platters. 

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Participants start out filming themselves clothed in baggy or unflattering clothes. Next, they film themselves in the doorway, naked or in underwear. The subject usually dances provocatively, and during this part of the challenge, they apply a filter. The filter changes the background to red and the person to a black silhouette. 

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Some figured out how to remove the red filter from the videos.

After the Silhouette Challenge went viral, it didn’t take long for other people to ruin it and make it something sinister. YouTube now hosts dozens of videos instructing people how to use editing software or apps to change the contrast and color on the videos in a way that reduces the silhouette effect, allowing them to view the subject naked or in their underwear. The goal of the editing is to reveal their bodies without anyone's consent.

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Now, people on social media are warning each other about the tutorials and advising people to take down their videos. A TikTok posted by @lostvsnryshots warning others of the dangers behind the Silhouette Challenge has been liked more than 63,000 times. "Just make sure you're being cognizant of what you're wearing before you do all the editing for the final product," she warned.

People are calling for Reddit and YouTube to take action.

With the tutorials on how to remove the filter so readily available, many are asking YouTube and Reddit to help take down the videos offering the step-by-step process on how to alter the videos.

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Rolling Stone's Culture Reporter, Ej Dickson, wrote, ”Obviously not linking, but there are videos all over YouTube offering tutorials for how to 'remove' the red filter for TikTok's Silhouette Challenge, in which women dance nude or partially nude in silhouette. This is a huge consent violation and @YouTube should remove them ASAP.” 

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Some Twitter users blamed the subjects themselves, noting that no one should be posting nude videos of themselves on the internet even if there is a filter. “I'm surprised that anyone taking a picture or video of himself or herself has any expectation of privacy. Perhaps one should be able to, but the evidence is that the pictures almost always get out,” they wrote. 

Another user responded to the tweet and insinuated that there was some victim blaming going on. “I can't believe I have to explain this: anyone participating in this challenge only consented to show what they chose to show. They did not consent to gross a------s violating them and then teaching other gross a------s  to do the same,” they wrote.

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