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TikTok’s manosphere problem: Violent misogyny keeps going viral

Despite bans of influencers like Andrew Tate, content promoting violence against women is proliferating across TikTok

Misogynistic “manosphere” influencers including Andrew Tate, Sneako, and Jon Zherka are promoting violence against women and finding virality on TikTok via fan accounts posting their content. Some of these figures, including Sneako and Zherka, have over 100 fan accounts dedicated to sharing their toxic content, making it difficult for the platform to moderate and track the hateful rhetoric that these figures push.

While manosphere influencers themselves are not posting their content to TikTok, their large fan bases are flooding the platform with these influencers’ misogynistic and toxic content. This method — using swaths of devotees to overrun a platform with a particular figure’s content — is not new and has been used by fans of white nationalist and conspiracy theorist figures on TikTok to promote fringe and extremist content. TikTok has not successfully counteracted the massive fan account uploads that violate its Community Guidelines.

These influencers are part of the manosphere, an online community of right-wing websites, bloggers, and personalities cultivating a worldview based on conservative and regressive gender politics repackaged for the internet age.

Figures in this group often push extremism and antisemitism while blaming women for myriad societal woes and treating them as an inferior sex. Rhetoric from these influencers can sometimes be overtly cruel and promote hitting, degrading, and shaming women.

Manosphere personalities use other topics that interest young men — like weightlifting, video games, and boxing — to draw in viewers before diving into extremist content and misogyny, creating a dangerous pipeline for their fans.

TikTok is a uniquely dangerous place for these influencers to infiltrate, as the platform is extremely popular with kids and teens — one survey found that phone users aged 11-17 spend a median time of one hour and 52 minutes per day on the app. Additionally, TikTok’s For You Page algorithm feeds toxic content to users even if they are not seeking it out, which could lead to accidental radicalization; an issue that already plagues men who fall prey to the extreme online communities.

Misogynistic content has previously been singled out as an “enforcement gap” on TikTok, meaning the platform has struggled to moderate content that has promoted sexism. According to TikTok’s Community Guidelines, it does “not allow sexual exploitation or gender-based violence, including non-consensual sexual acts, image-based sexual abuse, sextortion, physical abuse, and sexual harassment."

  • Examples of manosphere influencers promoting violence on TikTok

  • Here are several examples of the kind of violent manosphere content that is currently on TikTok and violating the platform’s Community Guidelines.

    In one video, right-wing streamer Sneako (real name Nico Kenn De Balinthazy) is seen hitting a woman in the face. “Yeah, she’s been acting up all night,” he says in response to an onlooker asking if he hit her.

  • Video file

    Citation Video via TikTok 

  • Sneako is a manosphere influencer and associate of pro-Hitler rapper Ye (formerly Kanye West) and has been described as “a cheap imitation” of misogynist, media personality, and alleged human trafficker Andrew Tate. Sneako is banned on TikTok and YouTube and has promoted the abuse of women.

    Additionally, Sneako has refused to condemn Adolf Hitler and attacked Jewish people online, saying that “the Nazis had drip” and that the swastika is “aesthetically pleasing.” He is also an associate of white supremacist and Holocaust denier Nick Fuentes and spoke at one of Fuentes’ antisemitic rallies.

    And in various TikTok videos, self-proclaimed woman-hater and manosphere influencer Jon Zherka is seen promoting violence against women. Zherka has previously described Hitler as a “good guy,” praised Fuentes, flirted with underage girls online, and shared content promoting violent attacks and abuse against women.

    During one video, Zherka claimed that it is acceptable to beat a woman if he is fighting a couple over public displays of affection.

    “If you’re a straight dude doing all that fucking nasty shit, making out with your girl at the park, I try and fight both of them, at the same time,” Zherka said. “I go, you know, it’s a two verse one, so I guess I can hit a woman."

    “We need some Saudi energy,” Zherka continued. “We need to start cutting tongues for this kind of shit."

  • Video file

    Citation TikTok video uploaded by user @jonzherkaa 

  • In another TikTok pulled from the misogynistic Fresh & Fit podcast, Zherka said that if he had a daughter he would “beat the shit out of her and disown her” if she made an OnlyFans account, after making bizarre comments about dating and having a child with his own daughter.

  • Video file

    Citation TikTok video uploaded by user @redpillvault

  • Zherka said, “We have to discipline children, we have to beat the shit out of children” in a different TikTok video.

  • Video file

    Citation TikTok video uploaded by user @ZherkaOnTop

  • Tracking virality and views of manosphere influencers on TikTok

  • Several of these misogynistic figures have millions of views under hashtags associated with them.

    For example, there are 6.4 billion views under the “sneako” hashtag on the platform, and 2 billion under the hashtag “sneakoclips.”

  • Sneako tiktok hashtags
  • The “jonzherka” hashtag has 227.8 million views.

  • Jon Zherka TikTok hashtags
  • Tate, who is perhaps the most well-known influencer in the manosphere space, is banned on TikTok but has many hashtags associated with him on the platform, through which users can encounter his content. The alleged human trafficker was banned for promoting sexist and violent content.

    Many of the Tate-associated hashtags have millions of views.

  • Andrew Tate tiktok hashtags
  • TikTok videos that include manosphere-aligned hashtags only represent a fraction of all the toxic content on the app that features these influencers, as these videos don’t always include manosphere hashtags or captions.

  • Manosphere fan accounts run amok on TikTok

  • When Tate was first banned from TikTok, several fan accounts began to reshare his misogynistic content across the platform. TikTok has never been successful in cracking down on fan accounts that post Tate content, and it continues to be an issue on the platform.

    Now several other manosphere influencers have similar fan account networks.

    These accounts regularly repost content from manosphere influencers and share links that are associated with these personalities. It is unclear if these networks of fan accounts are connected or acting independently.

    According to a Media Matters analysis, there are over 175 fan accounts dedicated to Sneako on TikTok.

  • Sneako tiktok fan pages
  • Similarly, there are over 100 fan accounts dedicated to Zherka and 55 accounts dedicated to Tate.

    There are likely fewer accounts and hashtags dedicated to Tate despite his fame because TikTok has previously pledged to crack down on the influencer’s content on the platform.

  • Zherka fan pages
  • Other manosphere programs, including the misogynistic Fresh & Fit podcast and Whatever’s Dating Talk podcast, also have multiple fan accounts on TikTok.

  • Influence on young users

  • Tate has had a big impact on young boys and men since his rise to fame in 2022. Reporting shows how easily toxic rhetoric from manosphere influencers like Tate can infiltrate the minds of young audiences, even among users as young as 11 years old.

    The videos of these manosphere influencers meeting their fans are a reminder of just how young some of these viewers and devotees are.

  • In one clip, young Sneako fans are repeating his toxic rhetoric back to him, saying, “Fuck the women,” and, “All gays can die.” He seems to half-jokingly ask the camera, “What have I done?”

  • Misogynistic and extremist rhetoric from these influencers does not live in a vacuum online; it can lead to real-world violence and harassment.

  • What can TikTok do?

  • To protect its young users, TikTok must be proactive, making sure that influencers who promote violence against women are not finding success or a home on its platform.

    Some bad actors are getting better at dodging moderation and are using terms that may not be picked up by the platform's “automated moderation technology,” an AI tool used by TikTok to determine if content violates the Community Guidelines. Human content moderators should take precedence when uploaded content concerns the manosphere or any influencer in this space, and should be reviewed more than once to ensure that violent and misogynistic content is not slipping through the cracks, and on to millions of young users’ screens.