The Controversial Rise of ‘Damon Salvatore Rule 34’: Uncovering the Dark Secrets of TikTok
The phrase “Damon Salvatore Rule 34” is causing a stir on TikTok. The curious and the daring type the phrase into Google Image Search, but not all are clued in about its larger context.
For the uninitiated, Damon Salvatore isn’t a real person. He’s a figment of imagination, birthed by The Vampire Diaries – a widely-loved book series that also successfully crossed over onto the small screen.
“Rule 34,” meanwhile, is an Internet meme that has roots in a 2003 webcomic. It originally appeared on the Zoom-Out website.
What is the meaning of Internet meme ‘Damon Salvatore Rule 34’?
Let’s break this down. The term “Damon Salvatore Rule 34” is a fusion of two distinct elements. “Rule 34” is a web-based rule suggesting that, believe it or not, there’s adult-oriented content associated with every single topic on the internet (no exception!). And our guy here, Damon Salvatore, is a raven-haired heartthrob, a vampire from the popular TV show ‘The Vampire Diaries’, played by none other than the dashing Ian Somerhalder.
So, dare to google “Damon Salvatore Rule 34” and Google, with its uncanny ability to find everything, will serve up adult content centered.
Where did ‘Rule 34’ come from?
Google reportedly first cached it on October 5, 2004, suggesting it originated on or shortly before that date. Five years later, in 2009, a user in the forum Something Awful posted a thread titled ‘Ask me about inventing Rule 34,’ in which he claimed to have invented it with his sister. It came to him, he said, via an Internet Relay Chat (IRC) chatroom.
It appears among the Lurk Wiki’s eight Rules of the Internet.
The comic depicted his shock at finding NSFW parody content relating to Calvin and Hobbes – a daily newspaper comic strip. He used the phrase “Rule 34” to refer to the apparent “rule” that Internet users will subject even the most innocent and mundane things to the NSFW treatment.
The comic itself faded into obscurity, but the phrase “Rule 34” stuck. Webcomic xkcd later published a comic titled Rule 34, further establishing it in the canon of Internet terminologies.
Some TikTok users may struggle to get the ‘meaning’ of ‘Damon Salvatore Rule 34’ at first
A Google search for the phrase “Damon Salvatore Rule 34” – rather than an image search – brings up all sorts of explanations for its meaning, not all of which are useful.
One claims that it has something to do with how Google ranks webpages in its search engine; that it is a “set of guidelines” that Google uses to improve the quality of its search results.
For most TikTok users, it seems, the purpose of the “rule” is to prank people. Over the past two years or so, several have shared “before and after” videos of them searching it. Others encourage their followers to do so only “with discretion,” and “at your own risk.”
In other words, they don’t contain explanations of what the “Damon Salvatore Rule 34” trend means, or why the images the come up on a Google Image search are the ones that do.