Tuesday, 21 Mar 2023

TikTok still hosting toxic posts of banned influencer Andrew Tate

TikTok still hosting toxic posts of banned influencer Andrew Tate

TikTok still hosting toxic posts of banned influencer Andrew Tate

TikTok is failing to crack down on accounts that post misogynistic content featuring the banned influencer Andrew Tate, despite a previous pledge 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 250m video views and 5.7 million followers.

Videos posted by the accounts included a clip watched 2.5m times in which Tate said women should "take some degree of responsibility" to prevent rape, another where he said "virgins are the only acceptable thing to marry" and a third where he says women who do not want children are "miserable stupid bitches".

TikTok says its platform is "inclusive and supportive" and bans content that "praises, promotes, glorifies, or supports any hateful ideology", including misogyny. It quickly removed the videos after being alerted to them last week, permanently banned two accounts and said it was reviewing the full findings of the CCDH 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 findings come after an Observer investigation in August exposed how followers of Tate, a British-American kickboxer and reality TV personality, were deliberately manipulating the TikTok algorithm to artificially boost his content. It revealed that members of his online academy Hustler's University - a moneymaking scheme aimed at young men - were encouraged to post videos of him to generate referrals.

In one guide, obtained by the Observer, Hustler's University members were instructed to post videos to provoke controversy, thereby giving videos the best chance of being picked up by the algorithm and going viral. "What you ideally want is a mix of 60-70% fans and 40-30% haters," it said. "You want arguments. You want war." The strategy led to the creation of hundreds of copycat accounts that posted videos of Tate making misogynistic or otherwise controversial comments, many of which were subsequently boosted by the TikTok algorithm to users including children. By August, videos of him on TikTok had been watched more than 11.6bn times.

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