In yet another example of how the “ConspiracyTok” community on TikTok can be a gateway to misinformation, four creators, one of whom is verified, are pushing dangerous far-right conspiracy theories to their unknowing viewers, often garnering millions of views.
Conspiracy TikTok, also known as “ConspiracyTok,” is a community that frequently discusses conspiracy theories. However, some popular ConspiracyTok creators have crossed the line from discussing conspiracy theories to actively peddling them. ConspiracyTok’s far-right extremism problem isn’t new, and there is evidence to suggest that TikTok’s recommendation algorithm may even promote far-right or extremist accounts.
A verified TikTok creator is spreading Alex Jones propaganda and child-trafficking misinformation
Austinvro, a verified creator with over 4.2 million followers, is using this platform to push dangerous extremist conspiracy theories. In one video, austinvro cites “a man named Alex Jones” as proof that a conspiracy theory is real.
Jones, a far-right conspiracy theorist and head of the Infowars network, has bragged about his TikTok popularity even though he has been supposedly banned from the platform. Jones has been sued over his false claim that the 2012 Sandy Hook mass shooting -- which killed 26 young children and school employees -- was a hoax. He also helped fund the January 6 pro-Trump event that led to a violent failed insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.
“The following stuff I’m about to say is 100% real and this part is not a conspiracy,” says austinvro. He then goes on to cite Jones and play an Infowars video which includes Infowars’ url. The video has over 6.9 million views.
In another video, austinvro claims that “according to some websites'' (he does not say which), “at least 200 children are kidnapped at Disneyland every single year and then trafficked” via tunnels under the park. The rest of the video is about freemasons.
“They also have a club called ‘33’ and the number 33 supposedly represents the highest level of freemasonry that you can get to,” austinvro says of Disney. “On top of that, the road that this club is supposedly on is 33 Royal Street and at the time of opening they had 33 corporate sponsors. Do you see a pattern?”
One popular ConspiracyTok creator regularly posts far-right transphobic videos and satanic-panic content targeting fellow TikTokers
Another ConspiracyTok creator, truthseekerzmac, has over 428,800 followers and regularly posts far-right transphobic videos targeting Black women. He claims that Michelle Obama and rapper Megan Thee Stallion were “born male,” which has been a favorite talking point of right-wing conspiracy theorists for years.
Truthseekerzmac has also made multiple videos attempting to prove that celebrities have sold their souls or are making human sacrifices (another classic far-right conspiracy theory). He has even targeted fellow TikTok creators like Charli D’Amelio and Bella Poarch, making videos speculating about if they sold their souls for material gain.
A Wayfair-adjacent child trafficking conspiracy theory is going viral because of a ConspiracyTok creator
Dontghostme, a creator with nearly 1 million followers, made a video claiming that Amazon is involved in child trafficking because of suspiciously priced hats which he alleges could be a front for illegal activities. “Amazon might be involved in trafficking but there is evidence to back it up,” says dontghostme.
A ConspiracyTok creator’s COVID-19 denial content has gone viral
Finally, paranomal_activity, an account with over 33,400 followers, posted a two-part video claiming that a doctor’s apartment was stormed because of supposedly revealing truths about “the global elite” and COVID-19. The doctor, Andreas Noack, is actually an anti-lockdown activist, but the “storming” was not related.
According to Lead Stories, “the chief prosecutor's office, the Generalstaatsanwaltschaft in Berlin, confirmed that the house search was part of an investigation into another person and that Noack's political views were irrelevant to the operation. Police had a search warrant for the whole building in which Noack rents an apartment. The YouTuber and two other individuals present during the raid were not arrested.”
Although this creator’s follower count is relatively low compared to other ConspiracyTok creators, the two-part video series racked up over 1.5 million views and builds upon a growing body of other coronavirus-related conspiracy theories on the platform. For example, this user also posted a common COVID-19 misinformation video claiming that a televised vaccination was staged without a needle.
TikTok must take action to stop the spread of far-right extremism on its platform
By not diligently moderating extremist content and creators on its own platform, TikTok is allowing for the rapid spread of far-right misinformation to an audience of young users. Despite the obvious harm content like this could cause, it remains in wide circulation on the platform. These four ConspiracyTok creators continue to gain popularity by covertly peddling far-right extremism to their young followers, and TikTok allows it.