In one recent example, a popular TikTok account with photos of a three-year-old has millions of followers, but some of the pictures have been downloaded numerous times by pedophiles. Not all of the followers who download the images have bad intentions but some of the innocent pictures have been sexualized by perverts and reposted on the Internet.
Daniel Weiss of the Brushfires Foundation says the Internet can be a very bad place.
“Many parents unknowingly are posting videos or pictures of their kids in very innocent situations,” he tells AFN, “not realizing that many pedophiles, or creepy people, are downloading those and saving them for their sick online fetishes.”
The child's mother is taking heat for allowing the images to remain on the site but that action is complicated by the fact that “likes” from followers after just one online photo generates thousands of dollars.
Weiss says the TikTok channel provides a cautionary tale for parents over, first, being aware of the danger and being careful about what you post. The second warning, while unlikely, is a nightmare scenario: Being tracked by the meta-data in the photo image.
“When you upload images, if you haven't turned that meta-data off on your phone or your camera, they're able to track that,” he warns. “A very tech-savvy person can track exactly where you live.”