TikTok Removes Videos in '365 Days' Trend after Users Joke About Sexual Violence in Controversial Netflix Movie

TikTok has said some videos tied to a challenge tied to the Netflix film 365 Days were removed for violating its community guidelines.

The popular video app, which has recently found itself at the center of a political storm in the U.S., said an internal review into a social media trend found and removed posts that were breaking its rules against the depiction of sexual violence.

The latest TikTok craze, gathered under the hashtags #365dayschallenge and #365days, which now have more than two billion views collectively, involved the users mimicking, joking or reacting to a variety of scenes from the controversial erotic drama.

"Following a review, we have concluded that some of the content posted violates our Community Guidelines and has been removed," a TikTok spokesperson told Newsweek via email, confirming that enforcement had been taken on some videos.

"Our top priority is to promote a safe and positive experience so that everyone can be free to express their creativity. Every day, our teams work to strengthen the policies, technologies and safety strategies that keep our community safe," they added.

The movie, originally known as 365 dni, is about a woman who is kidnapped by a Mafia boss who gives her one year to fall in love with him. It includes multiple scenes of sexual abuse and coersion, which some TikTok users started mining for content.

In an example highlighted by The Independent, since deleted, one video shared by a female user was uploaded which appeared to show bruising on her body, reportedly shared with the caption: "Decided to watch 365 days with my 'guy friend'.

While many of the policy-breaking videos have now been removed, YouTube videos that remain online show a variety of young users taking part in the challenge.

Newsweek found a similar video—showing a woman claiming to have cuts and bruises after watching 365 days with her partner—remained online as of today.

Some videos referencing the movie are still available on TikTok, including one showing a man mimicking a scene from the movie in which the male character grabs the woman by the neck. Another shows a woman pretending to have been tied up.

Scottish Charity EmilyTest, which is focused on combatting gender-based violence, said some content had shown users claiming to have "bruising from sexual violence."

Great news from @tiktok_us - They have revisited their initial assessment of the 365-trend (videos showcasing bruising from sexual violence) & determined it violates community guidelines. Carrying out sweep and removing all 365-trend videos globally. #endgbv pic.twitter.com/Y82gtnKpaq

— EmilyTest (@Emilytest12) September 2, 2020

According to TikTok's own community guidelines, users are not allowed to post content that "depicts, commits, or incites non-consensual sexual acts." It also governs content that "commits, promotes, or glorifies sexual solicitation or sexual objectification."

An online petition to have the film removed from Netflix, which has amassed more than 87,000 signatures, accuses the filmmakers of romanticizing sexual assault.

The Change.org petition says that Netflix "clearly stands on the side of the abusers" by promoting the title to its streaming audience around the world.

"These scenes are being watched by millions of impressionable teens and young adults wanting to learn about intimacy. Except this isn't intimacy, this is an assault served to us on a silver platter," it reads. Netflix was not involved in producing the title.

In a statement to The Guardian in July, a Netflix spokesperson said 365 Days runs with ratings warning about its violence, sex and nudity, before noting: "Members can choose what they do and do not want to watch by setting maturity filters at a profile level and removing specific titles to protect from content they feel is too mature."

While the movie sparked a social media trend, it has been widely panned by film critics, holding a zero percent rating on the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes.

As noted by Forbes, IndieWire's coverage honed in on the film's "problematic" plot as being "rooted in date rape and Stockholm syndrome." Jezebel reviewer Tracy Clark-Flory likened it to a "big-budget porn film with dramatically thinned out narrative."

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In this photo illustration, the TikTok app is displayed on an Apple iPhone on August 7, 2020 in Washington, D.C. Drew Angerer/Getty