Content promoting the white nationalist “groyper” group has continued to spread on TikTok, getting millions of combined views, despite the platform’s rules against hateful content. The leader of the groypers, Nick Fuentes, has been actively encouraging supporters to post his content on TikTok, and some have similarly organized on other platforms as well.
Fuentes and the groypers are banned on TikTok, but since at least the beginning of August, the white nationalist streamer has urged his audience to “get on TikTok, start chopping up my content, and spamming it on TikTok with hashtags.” He also urged them to intentionally misspell hashtags on videos, a tactic often used to evade detection, and to “get me [Fuentes] on the ‘For You’ page” on the platform, likely so his videos can reach a larger audience.
Some of Fuentes’ groyper followers appear to have obeyed his command. On Telegram, accounts have posted videos featuring Fuentes and urged users to share them on TikTok — an effort which Fuentes has in turn promoted. Fuentes has also bragged about the supposed success of what he called “Operation NickTok,” claiming that content connected to his “team” had received more than 15 million views on TikTok.
While it is unclear if the 15 million views claim is accurate, Fuentes is clearly taking advantage of TikTok’s reactive approach to moderation, a critical flaw that enables far-right content to spread easily on the platform, and the content has indeed garnered millions of views. As Fuentes suggested, groypers have successfully employed primitive ban evasion tactics — including intentional misspellings — to dodge moderation and to widely circulate their hateful and bigoted content.
Although the “Nick Fuentes” search is banned on TikTok as of August 29, “Nicholas J Fuentes” still returns bigoted content, such as a video titled “Jews and their manipulation.” The hashtag “#NickFuente” has over 2.7 million views on TikTok, and different variations and misspellings of Fuentes’ name have racked up hundreds of thousands of views.
Groypers are also trying to funnel users from TikTok to Fuentes’ own streaming platform. They often include the website URL in their TikToks in an attempt to move users to their unmoderated network. The hashtag associated with Fuentes’ streaming platform has over 487,000 views.
Simply banning the search terms “groypers” or “Nick Fuentes” is a wholly insufficient solution to the complex problem of an emerging white nationalist ideology on TikTok, which has a new, young audience. TikTok’s “For You” page algorithm provides a uniquely dangerous radicalization pipeline, where far-right extremist videos are fed to users who interact with affiliated content. It’s not hard to see how niche content posted by small accounts, such as the ones that uploaded Fuentes’ videos, gets millions of views.
TikTok’s shoddy and shortsighted enforcement of its extremism rules has enabled the group to reach millions of users as Fuentes and his followers mass-upload their racist content into circulation.