How TikTok bombards young men with misogynistic videos | ICT Tac

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A Observer An investigation has revealed how TikTok promotes misogynistic content to young people despite claiming to ban it.

Videos of online personality Andrew Tate, who has been criticized by domestic violence activists for normalizing extreme and outdated views of women, are among those passed by the algorithm to users via the homepage organized for you.

We ran an experiment to get a glimpse of what young people are shown on the platform, which allows users to sign up as young as 13.

To make sure the results wouldn’t be influenced by our previous search history, we created a new TikTok account for an imaginary teenager, using a fake name and date of birth.

At first, the 18-year-old’s account showed a mix of material including comedy clips, dog videos and discussions of men’s mental health.

But after watching videos aimed at male users — including a clip from the Alpha Blokes podcast and a clip from a TikTokker explaining how men ‘don’t talk about their feelings’ — the algorithm started suggesting more content that seemed to be suitable for men.

Without “liking” or proactively seeking content, the suggestions included videos of Andrew Tate, including one from an impersonator account using Tate’s name and image captioned the “harsh reality of men,” who seemed to blame feminism for making men miserable, adding that “the majority of men have no money, no power, no sex with their wives”, and that their lives “suck”.

After watching two of his videos, we were recommended more, including clips of him expressing misogynistic views. The next time the account was opened, the first four messages were from Tate, from four different accounts.

The algorithm also suggested videos of Dr. Jordan Peterson, a Canadian psychologist known for his right-wing views; coaching programs for men and videos of men’s rights activists.

But Tate content was by far the most prevalent. Upon reopening the app a week later, the account was again flooded with Tate content, with eight of the top 20 videos being from Tate.

The clips included a video where he says most men’s lives suck because they have “no power” and “no sex with their wives”, and another where he describes his girlfriend as “very well trained”.

In another, he says people seeking mental health support are “useless”. He says, “If you’re the kind of person who needs therapy, you need someone to talk to, do you know who you are? You are useless. Because in the harshest realities of this cold world, there are people in Syria whose entire families have been blown up for fucking with a bomb from the sky.

Another video recommended by the algorithm ridiculed people for wearing masks during the pandemic, saying they were either “idiot or cowardly”, while claiming that by choosing not to wear them, he made proof of “bravery and balls”.

Experts have raised concerns about the spread of content featuring Tate on the platform, where videos of him have been viewed 11.6 billion times.

Callum Hood, head of research at the Center for Countering Digital Hate, said: “The danger is that this is very eye-catching content, and the TikTok algorithm in particular is so aggressive that you only have ‘to pause for a few moments before it starts recommending similar content to you again and again.

TikTok said, “Misogyny and other hateful ideologies and behavior are not tolerated on TikTok, and we are working to review this content and take action against violations of our guidelines. We are continually looking to strengthen our policies and enforcement strategies, including adding more safeguards to our recommendation system.

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