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What is TikTok Silhouette Challenge? Women warned against trend, videos show how to remove red filter for nudes

The viral TikTok trend called the Silhouette Challenge that started as something to empower women about their bodies has become fodder for creeps online
(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

The Silhouette Challenge on TikTok had begun to trend as a way to empower women to feel confident about their bodies but has now become a way for creeps to use this opportunity to sneak looks at naked women. The trend sees women upload pictures of themself in the nude or semi-nude, use a red filter to convert the picture into a silhouette, hence the name of the challenge.

What is the risk of using the red filter on #Silhouettechallenge?

While there are tons of articles about "how to" duplicate this and upload a picture of your own online, there are also video tutorials that teach individuals online about how to remove the red filter so as to see the picture in its original form before the filter was added. This is the risk that a section of women are now trying to spotlight to ensure that the women who are posing and posting under this challenge are aware of the risks that are involved.


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Representative image (Getty Images)

In fact, a Reddit sub called 'r/SilhouetteUnfiltered' had been started which saw men posting unfiltered pictures of women after the red filter had been removed. It is only when the outrage against the trend and the video tutorials on Twitter had started was the page banned by Reddit. Banned on February 1, the page now reads, "This community has been banned. This subreddit was banned due to a violation of Reddit’s rules against involuntary pornography."

The trend was supposed to just be silhouettes of women who would seem like the seductive woman featured in Bond film’s opening credits. EJ Dickson, who is a culture writer tweeted, "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." 


Representational Image. (Getty Images)

TikTok user 'lostvsnryshots' also posted a PSA about the challenge which has over 105,000 likes. She said in the video that women should be "cognizant of what you’re wearing before you do all the editing for the final product." She is also a self-proclaimed photographer who also posted a second video that listed complaints from many regarding how her video had ruined the challenge. 

According to a report in New York Post, Twitter also banned accounts that had used unfiltered pictures from the challenge to shame the participants. This challenge has also begun a debate on Twitter about if social media users are responsible for what they post and if at all they should expect any privacy regarding their posts.

Internet debates over privacy

One user wrote, "When will people realize they should not expose themselves on camera, no matter what filter, app, whatever, and keep their private lives private. People shouldn't blame YouTube or anyone else for their idiotic behavior. People are putting themselves out there to be exploited."

To which another responded, "It’s a BIG difference between me choosing to expose myself in one way & someone else choosing to take MY photo that I didn’t give them permission to save onto their device, & proceed to edit to further expose parts I didn’t choose to expose, then reshare my video."


One user also blamed the participants and wrote, "Before posting anything, please read the TOS for youtube, Tick-tock and other social entities that involves the creation of content. Most of these services own your content. You consent to this when you agree to TOS. Don't shift culpability for irresponsible behavior onto others."


Another user further clapped back to say, "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 assholes violating them and then teaching other gross assholes to do the same."


A simple search on YouTube about how to 'remove redlight filter in silhouette challenge' will pop a number of results with details on how. Despite being called out on social media, the video streaming site has not removed any of these videos.