TikTok makes headlines after their #autismchallenge goes viral. The platform is under fire after millions of its users posted videos of themselves mocking autism. Some of the symptoms they pretended to have include seizures and twitches. If that's not enough, they also acted as if they have severe autism.
The Autism challenge uses Black Eyed Peas' song, "Let's get it started." It's a variety of symptoms being mocked here, mostly aimed at autistic people who are non-verbal.
People of all ages have participated in this challenge. Some even gaining millions of views. When the challenge went viral, some of the videos were erased. People don't know if it was TikTok enforcing community guidelines or the users deleting it due to flashbacks.
A report by Pix11 gave counts from parents and their autistic children's reaction to this challenge. Angela Blanchet's son Ben is a 14-year-old writer working on his latest book, "Maybe Autism is Your Superpower." When she asked her son how he felt about the videos aimed at him and others like him, Ben replied, "horrible." Angela was also disgusted with the videos. She said, "It's unfortunate. Something positive that should be gaining momentum."
A similar report by Parentology covers the account of Kate Swenson, founder of Finding Cooper's Voice. Swenson posted on Facebook, stating, "To find out that there are people challenging other people to make fun of a person with autism disgusts me."
TikTok responded to Parentology with their spokesperson telling the platform, "This content does not reflect our values and is against the code of conduct outlined in our Community Guidelines. The original video was removed, and we are looking into and will take action on any further content that violates our policies."
The videos continue to circulate on social media platforms, with Twitter being the harshest on calling out TikTok users. The #autismchallenge is currently trending. Sad to say, it may take a while before it dies down.