Videos using the "fake body" hashtag have received billions of views on TikTok.
Users think the phrase stops semi-nude videos from being removed for violating the app's guidelines.
TikTokers said non-explicit videos have previously been removed by the app.
The phrase "fake body" is spreading on TikTok as people use it in captions and hashtags which feature partially nude content, such as bikini or shirtless videos, in an attempt to avoid them being removed for violating the platform's community guidelines on nudity.
The hashtag #fakebody has around 1.8 billion views on TikTok, and the same hashtag with the addition of a yellow "warning" emoji has more than 840 million views. The vast majority of posts with the hashtag are of real people, often wearing revealing clothing such as crop tops or bikinis.
By adding the tag to their videos, TikTok users think they can trick the automated moderation system into thinking the body in the video is a mannequin or a sculpture.
In July 2021, TikTok announced that it would start using automated systems to remove content containing "adult nudity," rather than relying solely on human content moderators. This has meant that some videos, which a human moderator might not consider to be in violation of TikTok's rules, could be removed automatically by the app.
Jo Gyu Seon, a fitness influencer based in South Korea, frequently uploads shirtless videos to the platform and told Insider that three such posts were taken down before he started using the "fake body" tag. A video with the hashtag posted on January 22 of Seon lifting up his shirt remains on his account and has been viewed 1.6 million times.
Seon thinks TikTok's moderation processes should allow topless videos, arguing they're not automatically sexual in nature.
He told Insider, "I post topless videos because it helps me to want to improve my own body more and it can also be good motivation for other people."
Anna Petrenko, who has more than 400,000 TikTok followers on her account about her life as a circus performer, has posted several videos of herself in body-hugging leotards performing acrobatic tricks.
She told insider that her account was once deleted for posting "candid" videos of herself in revealing clothing. She now uploads with more caution, she said, and makes sure to use the "fake body" tag to try and prevent videos that she does not believe are sexually explicit from being removed.
A recent video showing Petrenko at a photoshoot in lingerie is captioned "fake body." It has not been removed from her account, and has been viewed almost 90,000 times in four days.
TikTok's nudity rules state that content that is "overly revealing of breasts, genitals, anus, or buttocks" will not be allowed on the platform, and say they "do not allow nudity, pornography, or sexually explicit content on our platform."
Similar guidelines are also enforced across other social media platforms. Instagram and Facebook's nudity guidelines, for example, prohibit depictions of genitalia and female nipples, with the exception of breastfeeding content.
TikTok declined to comment upon Insider's request.
Read the original article on Insider