TikTok ‘still hosts toxic posts’ from banned influencer Andrew Tate | ICT Tac
TikTok is failing to crack down on accounts that post misogynistic content featuring banned influencer Andrew Tate, despite an earlier promise to do so, according to new research.
Analysis by the Center for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH) identified more than 100 accounts that frequently promote content featuring Tate, with a total of 250 million video views and 5.7 million followers.
Videos posted by the accounts included a clip viewed 2.5 million times in which Tate said women should ‘take some responsibility’ to prevent rape, another where he said ‘virgins are the only thing acceptable to marry” and a third where he says that women who don’t want children are “miserable sluts”.
TikTok says its platform is “inclusive and supportive” and prohibits content that “praises, promotes, glorifies or supports any hateful ideology,” including misogyny. It quickly deleted the videos after being alerted to them last week, permanently banned two accounts and said it was reviewing the full findings of CCHR’s research.
“Our community guidelines specifically call out misogyny as a hateful ideology and we are crystal clear that this content is not allowed on our platform,” a spokeswoman said.
The discoveries come after a Observer An investigation in August revealed how followers of Tate, a British-American kickboxer and reality TV personality, deliberately manipulated the TikTok algorithm to artificially boost its content. He revealed that members of his Hustler’s University online academy – a lucrative program for young men – were encouraged to post videos of him to generate referrals.
In a guide, obtained by the Observer, Members of Hustler University have been instructed to post videos to cause controversy, giving the videos the best chance of being picked up by the algorithm and going viral. “What you want ideally is a mix of 60-70% fans and 40-30% haters,” he said. “You want arguments. You want war. The strategy led to the creation of hundreds of impersonator accounts that posted videos of Tate making misogynistic or otherwise controversial comments, many of which were later bolstered by the TikTok algorithm for users, including children. By August, videos of him on TikTok had been viewed more than 11.6 billion times.
In response to the Observer investigation, TikTok said it removes “violent” content and accounts, including misogynistic content and “copycat” accounts that violate its impersonation rules. Two weeks later, it announced it had banned an official account owned by Tate for violating the rules on “content that attacks, threatens, incites violence against or otherwise dehumanizes an individual or group”. , following similar action by Instagram and Facebook.
While it hasn’t imposed a blanket ban, which means videos of him are still allowed on the platform as long as they comply with TikTok’s policies, the platform said that it was pursuing steps to strengthen its enforcement and detection models.
CCHR’s analysis, conducted in October, shows that many accounts continued to post non-compliant content, apparently without detection or action by TikTok. Callum Hood, its head of research, said the accounts appear to have been set up to “play the TikTok algorithm to push misogynistic content into people’s feeds, make it rack up engagement and make money to Andrew Tate.
It took the CCHR team “about two days” to gather extensive evidence of violent content, he added. “If it took our team two days outside of TikTok, it shouldn’t be hard for TikTok to detect what’s going on.”
The rise of Tate and the response of social media companies has attracted huge global attention this year and sparked a debate on free speech and harmful content – a topic currently in the spotlight after the takeover from Twitter by Elon Musk.
Tate, who grew up in Luton and now lives in Romania, claimed he joked about making extreme misogynistic comments, saying ‘internet sensationalism’ had ‘pretended the idea that I [sic] anti-women when nothing could be further from the truth”.
But Ruth Davison, CEO of domestic violence charity Refuge, said content pushed by Tate and his supporters risked normalizing harmful behavior. “It may sound like harmless jokes, but it doesn’t stop there; it creates a culture in which violence can flourish and continue.
She called for regulation to compel social media platforms to report on online misogyny and other harmful content. “We would like to see the platforms do more [to tackle it] themselves, but they won’t because they will lose their competitive edge, so it has to be the government,” she added.