A TikTok creator claimed that he convinced his followers to share information about this fraudulent “porcelain challenge” to comment on the “moral panic” that misrepresents the individual popular videos to be widespread media trends.
A few days later, he announced that TikTok removed his account following it flagged his videos as encouraging “dangerous acts.”
Sebastian Durfee, who was known as child progeny TikTok the platform, announced that his account was blocked Monday permanently following a joke he made in a YouTube video that he had created an untrue challenge to alarm “boomers.”
In the clip, released on Saturday, just before the account was deleted, Durfee proposed that TikTok users spread a rumor Gen Z was “grinding up their parents’ antique china into a fine powder and snorting it like cocaine.”
“I thought it would be interesting to see if I could find the sweet spot of manufacturing something that is blatantly false and have the receipts to prove it — anyone could look it up and find out where it started,” Durfee explained. “But still be interesting enough that people will want to get in on it and help it spread.”
NBC News could not immediately confirm TikTok has banned the account. The account is no longer active within the service.
A spokesperson from TikTok has stated that content that encourages risky behaviors, even if fake, is against the platform’s guidelines for community members.
Before the challenge was taken down, Durfee’s main account was more than 154,000 followers. His initial video on the contest had more than half one million views. In just a few hours “porcelain challenge” became a viral phenomenon “porcelain challenge” evolved into an unofficial joke with users who are regular TikTok users. The hashtag #porcelainchallenge had more than 5.3 million views on Tuesday.
“And for the most part, it seemed like everybody who knew about it was in on it and was part of the joke, and I didn’t think it would progress any further than that,” the man said.
A TikTok user said that they saw “ppl doing [expletive] toilet bowls like” cocaine and using the snowflake symbol as a symbol of the drug to avoid TikTok moderating of content. Some posted videos that appeared to be from hospitals and claimed that they were hospitalized due to taking snorts of porcelain. One TikTok user posted that a “cousin’s cousin” attempted the task in which “they had to pour grout down his nose.”
“DID ANYONE SEE THAT ONE VIDEO ?!?!” Ben Blue, the creator of the video. Ben Blue captioned a recent TikTok video about the contest.
Responding to comments about a video that warned viewers about the dangers of drinking porcelain, TikTok user eli_orwhatever wrote, “Personally I plan to do everything in my power to get it on Fox News.”
Durfee claims he devised the fake contest after his investigation revealed that the Food and Drug Administration released the statement cautioning parents about the “recent social media video challenge” which “encourages people to cook chicken in NyQuil.”
This “challenge” the FDA referred to may be a result of an earlier 4chan post that joked over braising tenders of chicken with cough syrup. The recipe was created by one TikTok user and recreated in the year 2017. The video garnered some interest when a few TikTok users uploaded videos in response to the dish; however, like BuzzFeed stated, “NyQuil chicken” did not really trend in the feed of TikTok up until after the FDA released a statement on it.
Durfee’s “porcelain challenge” follows years of news coverage that was alarmist. Viral videos or posts that received attention on the web but were merely hoaxes or absurdist jokes considered to be serious.
in 2018, footage of the desire to eat laundry detergent packets generated a lot of news coverage about “the “Tide Pod Challenge.” The American Association of Poison Control Centers received 86 reports of teens deliberately ingesting laundry detergent at the beginning of the year. The amount, according to the New Statesman reported, was insignificant compared in comparison to “mass hysteria” prompted by the claims of a threat.
In the past in the year of this year, the California Teachers Association warned educators about the so-called “Slap a Teacher” challenge; however, the evidence was inconclusive to suggest that children actually attacked teachers over TikTok opinions.
“Just because someone wrote it down somewhere, does not mean it’s actually a TikTok trend,” disinformation researcher Abbie Richards tweeted in response to the “Slap a Teacher” challenge.
Durfee increased the stakes by sharing images of fake news articles, warning parents of the danger. Some viewers believed that the news articles were genuine, Durfee said, without making an effort to verify the authenticity of the articles. This proved to be “rather discouraging,” Durfee stated.
“I wanted to see if I could take the people who were in on the joke and make them unaware that they were part of the next round of critique,” said the author. “I think when people feel like they are in on the inside joke, it might encourage them to give up their critical thinking for the purpose of, like, safety and numbers.”
By the end of Sunday, TikTok had added a disclaimer in its video warning of dangerous content.
“I took it and rolled with it. … If you’re watching the video, the first thing you hear is ‘Let’s make a fake challenge that we’re not actually going to do,'” Durfee declared.
A number of his videos were reported on Monday as “promoting dangerous acts,” according to Durfee. In one video, TikTok was removed, and he replied to a user’s video on raising awareness about the challenge by posting about it on different Facebook groups. Another video that he claimed was removed contained screenshots of a New York Post article about the contest.
He claimed he was permanently removed from his main account, child progeny, on Monday evening. Durfee criticized TikTok for removing his account and other accounts belonging to users as well as allowing many accounts that support hatred to continue to function.
“The moral panic overcomes the actual facts of the situation. No one’s doing this,” said the man. “No one even thinks other people are doing it. But since I’ve referenced something that is in itself dangerous … that’s just as apparently bad as endorsing it.”
The TikTok Community guidelines prohibit users from posting material “depicting, promoting, normalizing or glorifying dangerous acts that may lead to serious industry or death,” for example, content that encourages or promotes “collective participation in dangerous or harmful activities,” which violates the Community Guidelines.
The guidelines are specifically applicable to content that portrays or encourages “ingesting substances that are not meant for consumption and could lead to severe harm.”
While no government agency has addressed specifically the process of grinding old porcelain and then inhaling it, however, The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health does caution against inhaling dust from materials that contain silica, like porcelain tile — may cause lung cancer silicosis.
Durfee repeated that he strongly isn’t convinced that someone who frequently utilizes TikTok and participates in online communities would be planning to take part in the challenge.
“There’s such a clear disconnect between the people who are the ones who are supposedly experiencing it and the ones who are commenting on it from the sidelines,” Durfee stated. “I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s a duality to these things. The younger generations are the ones supposedly doing it but are actually just thinking it’s funny, and the older generations are the ones who are actually feeling the effect of it despite not realizing it.”