TikTok is a haven for hilarious videos and easy dance tutorials. But what’s not funny is the latest trend, The Autism Challenge. It has led people to disrespect those living with disabilities which is absolutely cruel. People took to Twitter to voice their opinions about why this challenge needs to be stopped. They called for action from the TikTok company.
The Autism Challenge videos feature an audio track of a person saying “Well Alice it seems we both got autism haven’t we?” Another person then says “yep.” There are thousands of videos that use this audio. They feature people dancing or moving in a way that they think an autistic person would move. Some videos include a filter that warps a person’s face. This is almost as if to say that people with autism look different than other people.
Autism Organizations Spoke Out About This Cruel TikTok Challenge
Autism Speaks Inc. is the largest autism advocacy organization in the United States. It focuses on autism research and awareness and outreach activities aimed at families, governments, and the public. The website also provides resources for those who are newly diagnosed. The organization tweeted “We are shocked and disturbed by the recent @tiktok_us challenge that encourages mean-spirited, discriminatory and cruel behavior toward people with special needs, including autism”
They continued on to say that they want TikTok to remove all of the videos that are a part of this horrible challenge. “This is completely unacceptable. In a world where we could all use a little more kindness, we’re committed to doing our part. We urge @tiktok_us to do the same by removing this offensive content, which we’ve reported on the platform.”
Tweets Flooded In Lending Voices To Denounce The Autism Challenge
This prompted other Twitter users to come forward and voice their opinions about how The Autism Challenge is completely insensitive. “Already deleted #TikTok due to disgusting #autismchallenge. Never downloading it again. If anyone I know takes part in this #challenge, I hope for your sake that I never see you in person. I can’t even believe this…” said one Twitter user who deleted their TikTok account after seeing the challenge.
Those that have autism do not find the challenge funny. Another Twitter user wrote “Dear @tiktok_us I am disgusted you are allowing people to mock and make fun of those with Autism like myself with AutismChallenge hashtag. Making fun of us is not funny or cute it is disgusting.”
Another person tweeted to TikTok “hello @tiktok_us I’d like to bring to your attention that there’s a trend under the name of “the autism challenge” and I’d like you to take all of the offensive videos down, it is disgusting and not enough people are talking about it.” It definitely is an issue that should be talked about more because it is literally offensive to so many people. Nothing about it is funny and there are millions of people all over the world that deal with the challenges of their disability every single day.
A Petition Was Started For TikTik To Take Down The Videos
Change.org is a website that literally is a platform for change in the world. A petition addressed to TikTok was started that points out how this challenge does not meet community guidelines. In particular, The Autism Challenge promotes “Attacks on protected groups (along with those with disabilities, some other groups include Race, Religion, Gender Identity, etc.)” This challenge is a direct violation of these guidelines because it is singling out those with disabilities. The petition also says that the videos dehumanize disabled people which is a form of bullying. Bullying should not be tolerated on any social media platform and definitely needs to be addressed.
After the issue of The Autism Challenge was sent to TikTok customer service, the company responded with “We reviewed your report. We found that the reported content doesn’t violate our Community Guidelines. We understand that you may not want to see this type of content, and you have the option to block the account that posted it.” It seems like the vast majority of people do not want to see this kind of disrespectful content. TikTok clearly could not see that this is an issue that affects the lives of many people living with autism. They should not feel like they are being attacked or made fun of when they log onto the app. The petition already has 6,500 signatures out of 7,500, but the number of signatures will surely increase as more people become aware of this issue.
Report Videos Labeled With #autismchallenge
If you see a video that features #autismchallenge you should report it and block the user. This is the only way that TikTok will see that words and actions can hurt people. Not only that but just the fact that autistic people should feel like TikTok is a safe space for them because discrimination of any sort should not be tolerated.
An autistic man on Twitter said “TikTok Autism Challenge, please don’t do it! It’s not just bullying and mocking but it’s discriminating, pushing the wrong message and the stigma that we’re trying to fight. Please consider the Autistic individuals whether they’re diagnosed/not and know it’s different for all!.”
Do not partake in this challenge and become part of the problem.
You can sign the petition here to help make a real change.