Trouble in Tiktok land: the viral trends that could be illegal

The international version of TikTok was launched in 2017 and quickly gained traction worldwide. Statistics reveal that the app has been downloaded over three billion times and generated roughly $1.9 billion in revenue in 2020 – showing a 457% increase year on year.

TikTok is competing with giant social networking platforms like Facebook and Instagram to become the most popular social networking app. Viral challenges have become popular on TikTok, but some of these trends are dangerous and you could even be breaking the law by participating!

In this blog, we will discuss some of the TikTok viral trends that could be illegal.

Wild camping in the UK

#Wildcamping has been trending on TikTok, reaching 19.6M views with users giving tips on how to do wild camping and the best ways to find camping spots. Going on a camping trip can be a fantastic way to unwind, enjoy natural surroundings, and spend quality time with family and friends.

However, you might be surprised to hear that wild camping is illegal in most parts of England and Wales. Wild camping laws state that it is illegal to camp in these regions of the UK without permission from the landowner.

The rules in Scotland are different as the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003 allows the public to camp on most unenclosed land which includes most of Scotland’s national parks. This makes Scotland the perfect destination for wild campers.

Copyrighted merchandise

Many people use TikTok to advertise products and collector items. For example, pin collections of Disney memorabilia have been a popular product to share, with the search term ‘pins collection’ gaining 4.5 billion views. Social platforms can be a great way to promote your small business and build brand awareness online. However, you must be careful that you don’t break copyright laws.

You are breaking copyright laws if you use creative works such as logos, photos, images, or text without permission, since these are considering intellectual property. For instance, if you post a drawing or product featuring a Disney character. You can face large fines and even imprisonment if you break copyright laws – even if it’s by accident.

British vs American snack challenges

British VS American snack challenges have become extremely popular on TikTok with the Will Smith and Guy Ritchie Snack Wars video going viral with 2M views. The hashtag #snackwars has over 31 million views, and whilst these videos are entertaining to watch, you should keep in mind that food standards and regulations differ in different parts of the world.

Non-compliance when it comes to food safety regulations can result in hefty fines and prosecution. Did you know that these foods are or have been officially banned in the UK, but not the US?

  • Chlorinated chicken
  • Pork infused with Ractopamine
  • Bread with Potassium Bromate

Road rage and driving in the UK

Road Rage videos on TikTok are becoming increasingly popular with the trend currently at 2.8 billion views – where drivers have recorded themselves complaining about slow drivers or sounding their horns – but did you know aggressive behaviour is a motoring offence that could land you in trouble with the police?

The penalty for committing a motoring offence can range from fines and penalty points to disqualification and even custodial sentences. If you are at fault for a road traffic accident, the injured party can take out an accident claim against you which could result in high compensation costs!

In the UK, it is also a motoring offence to sound your horn aggressively or when driving in a built-up area between the hours of 11.30 pm and 7.00 am, except when another road user poses a danger.

The silhouette challenge

You’ve probably seen the  #SilhouetteChallenge on TikTok, which has over 400 million views. This trend sees people dance as a silhouette while their bodies are mostly obscured by a red filter. This challenge was started as a body-positive movement to empower women.

However, several YouTube videos have emerged showing people how to remove the red filter using editing apps and software. This reduces the silhouette effect and reveals the posters’ bodies. Instructions have also been posted on other social platforms like Twitter and Reddit.

You should always be aware of the risks of posting photos and videos of yourself and take steps to protect yourself online.

Vape challenge

TikTok is full of #vapetricks videos encouraging people to make shapes like rings or “ghosts” with the smoke from the device. Currently sitting at just over 1.6 billion views, these videos may seem harmless, but experts are concerned about vaping products targeting teenagers and leading to a spike in usage.

According to the law in the UK, you must be 18 or over to buy cigarettes, e-cigarettes, or e-liquids and the vape challenge has raised concern that the playfulness of the content may be encouraging young adults to buy vaping products.

Beaning challenge

A trend called “beaning” emerged on TikTok in 2021, with #beaning gaining just over 900k views. This sees users pouring a tin of baked beans over an unsuspecting victim. This can be classed as antisocial behaviour and land you with an anti-social behaviour injunction.


Some viral trends can be fun, but they can also land you in hot water! There have been a number of arrests in recent years due to TikTok challenges. Be careful if you’re participating in viral trends/challenges and make sure you avoid doing anything that could be dangerous or illegal.

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Last reviewed on 11/07/23 by Glenn Cook who is a Solicitor