What Is the TikTok Kia Challenge? Users Urged To Report Dangerous Trend

TikTok is once again making headlines for a dangerous trend—this time, the Kia challenge.

The trend emerged in early July, when a content creator posted a video showing how a Kia car can be started with a USB cable.

The clip has since been linked to a number of car thefts and robberies from vehicles.

An Indiana resident, Alissa Smart, fell victim to the challenge on July 16, when her Kia Soul was broken into and damaged. She told Fox 59: "This trend absolutely makes me feel disgusted. It's really beyond me that people think it's OK to post criminal acts, let alone participate in them after seeing them online."

A picture of the inside of Kia
The inside of a Kia car, seen at the Brussels Expo in Belgium on January 9, 2020. The company's vehicles have become the focus of a TikTok trend. Gettyimages

What Is The Kia Challenge?

The Kia challenge encourages people to try to start a car with a USB cable, taking advantage of a vulnerability that allows the ignition to be bypassed in some Kia and Hyundai models.

People have been filming themselves doing this and then uploading the video to TikTok.

However, anyone stealing another person's car for a social media stunt could be committing grand theft. According to the Legal Information Institute at Cornell Law School, some states consider all car thefts grand larceny, whatever the value of the vehicle. Grand theft is a felony in some jurisdictions.

Is the Kia Challenge Dangerous?

As well as being a criminal offense, trying the Kia challege on someone else's car can cause serious harm to the victim. Smart said she was deeply affected when she was woken in the middle of the night because two people were breaking into her Kia.

The incident left her feeling "scared, anxious and confused on how someone could see two car seats and a diaper bag and still commit such a monstrous act."

She told Fox that the thieves had "tried to hotwire my Kia Soul before my niece walked outside and they took off running on foot," adding that she "can't afford to fix my vehicle, which leaves me and my two children without our only mode of transportation."

The repairs will cost hundreds of dollars, with a replacement window alone costing $400, she said.

The thieves also stole her wallet, containing "my ID and my children's medical cards with their full names and date of births. I feel violated and scared."

TikTok is encouraging users to report any content that they see relating to or displaying the Kia challenge. To report content to TikTok, you should:

  • Click the white arrow (or the three white dots on the website) to the right of the offending video
  • Click "Report"
  • Choose "Illegal activities" as your reason.