STRG_F research shows: TikTok as a drug platform for children and young people | NDR.de – NDR – Press

Status: 23/08/2022 06:00

A new type of drug scene has developed on TikTok that already appeals to children. Children and young people not only exchange their experiences there, but can also get hold of hard drugs. This is the result of research into the STRG_F funk format as part of the “DarkTok” focus. Faced with this, TikTok does not block relevant hashtags. The report will be shown on 23 August from 5pm on the YouTube channel and on funk.net.

“How old were you when you joined for the first time?” asks a teenager in a TikTok clip that has more than 2,000 likes. The responses in the comments are troubling. Some say they started using drugs when they were 11, 12 or 13 years old. She was 13 years old, writes one user: “To be exact, the first time two weeks ago.” A girl says she saw clips on TikTok glorifying drugs when she was nine and then wanted to take chemical drugs herself. She did it for the first time when she was ten. She now finds her dealers via TikTok. Some of the children and young people film themselves drunk, turn to drug-glorifying rap sounds with dilated pupils. Dangerous consumption tips are shared during some clips.

The fact that part of the drug scene is switching to the Internet is not new. This scene has now migrated to TikTok, making it appeal to significantly younger users. On TikTok, unlike on other platforms, the drug scene no longer takes place in closed groups, but publicly under relevant hashtags. Videos about drug trips sometimes generate thousands to tens of thousands of likes.

Although hashtags like #drogen or #drugs are blocked on TikTok, numerous videos of young drunks can be found under hashtags like #tanteemma, an allusion to the drug MDMA. The drug scene here revolves around ecstasy, but speed, crystal meth and heroin are also consumed. A young user appears openly smoking heroin on TikTok, another apparently intoxicated on heroin. Your clip gets 4000 likes. A few days later, she reports from the hospital, where she is being treated for an overdose.

According to research by journalists Isabell Beer and Désirée Fehringer, the TikTok algorithm apparently strengthens access to the drug scene. For example, if you follow several young drug users and like individual clips, the TikTok algorithm will soon play almost exclusively videos of young people under the influence of drugs. The research also shows that you can actually get cocaine and ecstasy pills through recommendations on TikTok.

TikTok responds to a CTRL_F request with a statement that “the safety and well-being of our community is our priority.” Prohibit the display, advertising or trade of drugs and remove them from the platform. TikTok deleted individual problematic videos after being informed by STRG_F. The main hashtags in the drug scene, on the other hand, were still available at the time of printing.

funk focus on “DarkTok”

Since Saturday, August 20, 2022, funk has highlighted the dark side of TikTok in the spotlight DarkTok. More than ten formats are dedicated to different subject areas and address the question: What happens when problematic and dangerous content is easily accessible to young users. The focus of funk is to raise awareness of a conscious use of TikTok – not through banning, but education.

CTRL_F is produced by NDR for funk. More information can be found on the format page in the funk press portal. Interview requests for Isabell Beer and Désirée Fehringer can be sent to presse@funk.net.

The video for research of STRG_F (NDR/funk) can be seen from Tuesday 23 August from 17:00 at https://www.youtube.com/c/STRGF

23 August 2022 / LL

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