Warning about viral “iPhone hacks” to catch partners cheating – NEVER try it yourself

VIRAL TikTok videos encouraging people to secretly stalk their partners using their iPhones have been branded “appalling” by experts.

Speaking to The Sun, domestic violence charities said the clips, which are garnering millions of views, are putting people’s lives at risk.

Viral TikTok videos encourage people to secretly stalk their partners by accessing location data stored on their phones

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Viral TikTok videos encourage people to secretly stalk their partners by accessing location data stored on their phonesPhoto credit: SOPA Images/LightRocket via Gett

The videos are allowed to circulate freely on the platform, although TikTok bans content that encourages stalking.

TikTok, a video platform owned by Chinese company ByteDance, is a popular destination for people looking for technology tips and tricks.

YouTubers often go viral by highlighting little-known iPhone or Android features for viewers to try.

However, a trend among gadget tipsters is exposing people to the risk of abuse by teaching viewers how to stalk their partners.

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The clips provide step-by-step instructions for tracking a friend’s whereabouts using their smartphone.

Typically, the videos show how to find out where someone has been by accessing location data stored on their iOS or Android device.

The uploads include titles like “Tracking iPhone to stalk your GF” and “how to catch cheating partner”.

It is a criminal offense to track, locate and track others without their consent.

TIKTOK DAMAGE

The Sun spotted two such videos uploaded by the same tech tipster in the past week that had garnered 380,000 views in total.

After The Sun contacted TikTok, one of the videos was removed. The second remained live at the time of publication.

A cursory search of the platform turns up several uploads with similar tips. Such a video has over a million views.

Many of the clips were uploaded months ago, suggesting TikTok’s efforts to remove stalking content are falling short.

Ruth Davison, CEO of the charity Refuge, said stalking is an “insidious” form of abuse that puts victims’ lives at risk.

She urged TikTok and other social media platforms to be more proactive in removing abusive content.

“These videos are appalling and should be removed immediately,” she told The Sun.

“Every day, Refuge supports women who have been harassed, stalked, controlled and intimidated by their partners or ex-partners who use technology to commit abuse.

“Social media companies that allow this type of content to get and stay online are putting women’s lives at risk.”

Her comments were echoed by Ann Molds, chief executive of charity Action Against Stalking.

Molds told The Sun: “This is a clever use of technology to teach potential stalkers and abusers how to stalk their partners.

“It’s very dangerous to share. It encourages people to commit a crime.”

CALL FOR IMPLEMENTATION

In its Terms of Service, TikTok says it “removes content that encourages or enables criminal activity.”

The platform adds that it bans content that “contains instructions on how to carry out criminal activities that harm people, animals or property”.

A spokesperson said: “At TikTok, maintaining a safe and positive in-app environment is our top priority. Our Community Guidelines make it clear that we do not tolerate harassment, stalking, or controlling behavior.”

Davison urged policymakers to crack down on social media companies that fail to remove abusive content.

She proposed expanding the Online Safety Act – which aims to regulate social media platforms – to directly protect women and girls from online abuse.

“As it stands, social media companies are unregulated and that poses a real problem for tackling online violence against women and girls,” Davison told The Sun.

“That’s why Refuge is calling for the Online Safety Bill to directly protect women and girls.

“Together with our industry partners and academics, we have proposed a code of conduct that can easily be plugged into this bill to ensure social media companies are held accountable.

“These videos are a very real example of why changes are needed and we are calling on the government to act quickly and embrace the code of conduct and show they are serious about protecting women and girls from online threats and abuse .”

Recent advances and technology have made it easier than ever to commit abusive behaviors.

Several women have reported being followed after Creeps secretly attached coin-sized item trackers to their people.

Smartphone apps that silently track and monitor people have become popular with abusers and are freely available online.


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https://www.the-sun.com/tech/5461677/warning-viral-iphone-hack-catch-cheating-partner/ Warning about viral “iPhone hacks” to catch partners cheating – NEVER try it yourself

Chris Barrese

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