May 22, 2023

Hany Farid Discusses Finding That Car Thefts Are Tied to TikTok Trend

From ABC 10 News

Rise in car thefts tied to a viral TikTok trend

By Claudia Lauer and Haleluya Hadero

Jonnifer Neal's Kia was stolen twice in one day — first from in front of her Chicago home and later from outside the mechanic shop where she took it to get fixed.

But Neal’s ordeal didn’t end there. After her car was recovered a month later, she was stopped by police twice coming home from work because a police error caused the Optima to remain listed as stolen. The same error resulted in officers waking her up at 3 a.m. another night. On yet another occasion, a swarm of officers pulled her over as she was traveling to Mississippi, handcuffing and placing her in the back of a cruiser for more than an hour...

Hany Farid, who stepped down in January from TikTok’s U.S. content advisory council because he felt unable to affect change, said TikTok tends to be defensive when criticized for its content moderation practices. He acknowledged the challenge of knowing where some trends originate because content moves quickly between platforms.

“It’s very much a Whack-A-Mole problem,” said Farid, a digital forensics expert at the University of California, Berkeley. “Because these platforms were not designed to be safe for kids, or for anybody..."


Hany Farid is a professor at the UC Berkeley School of Information and EECS.

headshot hany farid
Hany Farid (Photo by Brittany Hosea-Small for the School of Information)

Last updated:

May 23, 2023