Musical.ly claims to be a global video community that welcomes millions of people around the world every day. It's a self-proclaimed "outlet for creative expression and communication with friends," and it's a "platform that connects individuals to a vibrant and highly engaged community of content creators," according to its website. But one mom recently found out that it's a bit more. Anastasia Basil took a deep dive into the app that her 10-year-old daughter always asks to download so she can make funny lip-sync videos but, when Basil finally succumbed and got the app, what she found was quite disturbing, according to her recent article published on Medium.
Basil created an account under the name gummibear9 and, after spending some time cruising the app, she decided "Nowayismykidgettingthisapp," despite how innocent the app appears on the surface.
"Musical.ly looks innocent — just kids making music videos, and it is that, but more so it’s this: user uploaded content by millions of people who can also live stream, which is how I first encountered porn on Musical.ly," she wrote.
And porn is not the only thing she found — though that alone would be enough to prohibit her daughter from using the app. When she poked around a bit more, Basil uncovered some seriously disconcerting content that'd have any parent worried about their children. Musical.ly did not immediately respond to Romper's request for comment.
There Was Definitely Porn
"A very helpful naked man live-streamed his live stream (if you know what I mean.)," she wrote. "Kids are going to see it eventually, right? Might as well let them see it now. Might as well get them drunk while we’re at it," she went on.
Basil isn't the first mom to find porn on Musical.ly. An Australian woman found out that a predator was pretending to be Justin Bieber on the music app after they asked her 8-year-old to send nudes, according to Music Feeds.
Kids Were Encouraged To Sexually Objectify Themselves
Kids as young as 8 sexually objectify themselves, and the kids who get it right ("the tweeny Kardashians") gain followers, Basil explained. Those who get it wrong , however, (" those [who are] not 'sexy' enough, funny enough, pop-culturey enough") are openly ridiculed in the comment section.
"Worse, their 'cringe-worthy' lip sync may be immortalized in 'Musical.ly Cringe Compilation' videos on YouTube," she explained in her post. "Some of these cringe compilations have upwards of five million views."
There Were A Number Of Inappropriate Hashtags
Some kids hashtag their videos to reach a wider audience, but they're doing so with words like "thot," which stands for "that hoe over there," or fgirl, hottie, sxy, whooty, or sin, according to Basil's post.
Kids Were Talking About Rough Sex
"There are kids mouthing words about rough sex," she wrote. And it gets worse.
"I saw a boy around the age of 9, maybe 10, create a user name that was so sexually graphic I had a hard time processing what I was seeing," Basil wrote "A little boy. Not a teenager. A boy."
There Were Videos That Encouraged Hurting Others & Oneself
There are #killingstalking musical.lys, which, according to the post are dark-themed videos showing boys putting knives to girls’ throats. Likewise, there are #selfharm, #cutter, #triggerwarning and more videos that showcase suicide options .
"I saw a boy with a bleeding chest (yes, real blood)," she wrote. "I saw a young girl whose thighs were so cut up I had to take a break from writing this article. A long break. The images are deeply upsetting."
Basil calls the app a "portal into a world where it’s always winter but never Christmas."
There Was Pro-Anorexia Content
There are hashtags for pro-anorexia content featuring photos of anorexic girls, on which users comment things like "I wish I could look like that," according to the Medium article.
"My daughter’s fate is sealed: Next fall she will be one of the dorky kids with a flip phone," she concluded. "Unless there’s a Mickey Mouse flip phone available by then. Good luck, team dork! We can do this."
After what she says she saw on that app, who can blame her?