The algorithm for social media app TikTok pushes minors into a rabbit hole of drug-related and sexually explicit content, according to a recent investigation by the Wall Street Journal. 

The Journal created dozens of automated accounts registered as users aged 13 to 15 to determine what content would show up in these young users’ “For You” page, which is TikTok’s main feed and offers highly personalized content. An analysis of the videos showed that the more these young users lingered on sexually explicit videos, the more videos related to this content would show up.

Users would then find themselves trapped in a loophole known by many users as “KinkTok.” 

The Journal also found that TikTok promoted a number of other videos related to rape, drugs, and sexual fetishes.

At one point, the account that viewed more sexually explicit videos had more than 90% of its videos related to bondage and sex. TikTok later removed 616 out of the 1,276 videos shown to the teenage account.

The Journal noted that TikTok declined to comment on the individual video investigation but a spokesperson said the app does not differentiate between videos it serves to adults and minors but that TikTok is working on ways of better filtering content for minors.

“Protecting minors is vitally important, and TikTok has taken industry-first steps to promote a safe and age-appropriate experience for teens,” the spokesperson said in a statement. 

TikTok’s terms of service state that users must be at least 13 years old and any user under 18 needs consent from their parents.

TikTok also stated that the Journal’s automated accounts “in no way represents the behavior and viewing experience of a real person” and that the platform was “reviewing how to help prevent even highly unusual viewing habits from creating negative cycles, particularly for our younger users.”

In June, TikTok removed almost 7.3 million accounts it suspected belonged to users under their 13-year-old age limit. The move came after information involving the app’s user demographics was leaked to The New York Times.

Teenagers and young adults make up a large population of TikTok users. A Statista report found that about a quarter of TikTok's almost 100 million monthly active users are between the ages of 10 and 19.