Saturday, November 19, 2022

FORBES: LiveStreaming Stripping Teens on TikTok

Alexandra S. Levine posted on Forbes "How TikTok Live Became ‘A Strip Club Filled With 15-Year-Olds’" (Apr 27, 2022) with the intro\kicker: "Livestreams on the social media app are a popular place for men to lurk and for young girls — enticed by money and gifts — to perform sexually suggestive acts.

The piece started with MJ, a 14-year-old blond nymphet in a bralette with a Cash App account, who gets her bills paid by livestreaming: "[...] acts that appear to toe the line of child pornography" for ≈ 2,000 men on TikTok.
“You’re paying my bills,” MJ told the audience, running a finger over her mouth.

“$35 for a flash,” one viewer responded. Another asked how much to send to her Cash App.

As she posed and pursed her lips, her long blonde hair draped over her tight black bralette, some asked MJ to show them her feet.

“I’m 68 and you owe me one,” one attendee told her as more requests piled on.

These exchanges did not take place between adults at a nightclub; they took place on TikTok Live, where MJ, who said she was 14 years old, was broadcasting with friends to 2,000 strangers on a recent Saturday night.

Livestreams on the social media app are a popular place for men to lurk and for young girls — enticed by money and gifts — to perform sexually suggestive acts.

Like MJ, other nubile nymphets are rewarded for their provocative performances with: "[...] TikTok gifts, which can be redeemed for money, or off-platform payments to Venmo, PayPal or Cash App accounts that users list in their TikTok profiles."

Leah Plunkett, an assistant dean at Harvard Law School, opined that nymphets performing "activities" for adults for money on TikTok is the digital equivalent of teen strip clubs:

It’s “the digital equivalent of going down the street to a strip club filled with 15-year-olds,” says Leah Plunkett, an assistant dean at Harvard Law School and faculty associate at Harvard’s Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society, focused on youth and media. Imagine a local joint putting a bunch of minors on a stage before a live adult audience that is actively giving them money to perform whatever G, PG or PG-13 activities they request, she said.

Levine listed some "demands" (e.g., teen girl-on-girl kissing and wrestling), that nymphets are asked to do in exchange for being "showered with virtual [TikTok] gifts":

Some of the demands are explicit — like asking girls to kiss each other, spread their legs or flash the camera [...] Commenters say “outfit check” to get a complete look at a girl’s body; “pedicure check” to see their feet; “there’s a spider on your wall” to get girls to turn around and show their rears; and “play rock-paper-scissors” to encourage girls to flirt-fight or wrestle with each other. Phrases like “put your arms up” or “touch the ceiling” are often directed at girls in crop tops so viewers can see their breasts and stomachs. And many simply coax girls to show their tongues and belly buttons or do handstands and splits. In return, the girls are showered with virtual gifts, like flowers, hearts, ice cream cones and lollipops, that can be converted to cash.

Under the subheading "Teenage quid pro quo", Levine profiled Ella, another livestreaming TikTok teen, whom, after turning down the lights, creatively stripped for "digital gifts" in front of ≈ 3,000 viewers:

Ella turned the lights down low and propped the phone up in front of her body — just beneath her chin, so her face was hidden — and picked up a pair of scissors.

Very slowly, as Ariana Grande played and nearly 3,000 people looked on, she began snipping pieces of her white t-shirt. Strip by strip, hole by hole, with every cut revealing more of Ella’s chest and black bra, commenters clamored for more and digital gifts poured in — a steady stream of roses, fire, whipped coffee and other cartoonish prizes.

17-year-old Madison shared with Forbes that some her teen friends earned almost $1,000 per month lustfully livestreaming week after week on TikTok and that they cunningly avoid TikTok's  age restrictions by simply lying about their ages:

Madison, a 17-year-old from South Carolina, told Forbes that some of her underage friends had been earning $200 a week off the gifts they’d racked up in their TikTok livestreams. Although she can’t receive Live gifts yet because she signed up using her correct age [...]

Interestingly, we learned from Levine's piece that, in addition to lying about their ages, some teens suggestively put links to their money apps in their profiles (e.g., Venmo, PayPal or Cash App). TikTok isn't the only app with stripping nymphets: "Snap, Instagram and YouTube — other popular destinations for children and teens — have also been criticized for exposing underage users to dangerous or unhealthy situations." And apparently, there are a lot of sexually suggestive teen TikToks as ≈ 43 million videos were removed from the platform: "[...] for policy violations related to minor safety." To quote Mare of Mare of Easttown said, "Teenage girls are fucking sneaky"

Confusingly, Plunkett, of Harvard, added: “That is sexual exploitation. But that's exactly what TikTok is doing here," which raises some (rhetorical) questions. Is it sexual exploitation when teens post sexaully suggestive content (e.g., TikTok teens twerking in thongs) for free but for likes and followers? And what about 18-year-old teens? Does it magically cease to be sexaul exploitation when the teens turn 18 and create OnlyFans account (e.g., Bhad Bhabie and Sami Sheen)? And why did Plunkett remove the stripping teens and leering men from the equation by saying "that's exactly what TikTok is doing here"?

Lastly, we would imagine that orthodox Jews and Muslims would agree that "lurking" men should avoid paying sex workers - of any age. And women, no matter the age, should avoid stripping for Brandy Melville perks, flashing for TikTok gifts or creating OnlyFans accounts.

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