The video-sharing app TikTok has become a magnet for extremists who spread antisemitic and racist content to recruit new followers, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) warned in a new report this week.
“Despite TikTok’s efforts to moderate and/or remove extremist content via community guidelines that cover a wide range of problematic content, from hate speech to discussions of self-harm, a cursory review of the platform by ADL’s Center on Extremism found that white supremacists and antisemites are using a range of methods on the platform to recruit new adherents and share hateful content,” the ADL said.
Employing a wide range of hashtags, adding captions to existing videos and overdubbing material posted by other users are among the techniques utilized, the ADL noted.
Crudely antisemitic messages have been inserted into some of the most popular content on the platform, the report observed.
The report noted, “One TikToker took a video of Swedish YouTuber PewDiePie and added a voiceover to make him appear to say, ‘Hey guys PewDiePie here. Death to all Jews. I want you to say after me, death to all Jews. And you know, Hitler was right. I’ve really opened my eyes to white power and I think it’s time we did something about it.’”
It continued: “Another user created a voiceover for a clip from the animated movie The Incredibles, which portrayed Mr. Incredible as a ‘Goyim’ (a disparaging Yiddish and Hebrew word for non-Jews) and his supervisor as a hateful and manipulative Jew bent on enacting globalist policies. Yet another video creates an antisemitic skit using a video clip from Regular Show, an animated sitcom. In the TikTok skit the character Mitch ‘Muscle Man’ Sorenstein gives his girlfriend, Starla, a rose. She responds by saying, ‘A Jew would never do this for me.’ Mitch responds, ‘Actually, Starla I have a confession to make, I’m Orthodox.’ Starla laughs maniacally and says, “You’ve been kicked out of 109 different countries!’”
The ADL also found dozens of TikTok profiles that use combinations of white supremacist symbols, terms and slogans as screen names or handles.
Common white supremacist numeric symbols in use on the platform include “14” to represent a popular white supremacist slogan, “2316” the numeric symbol for “white power,” “88” to represent “Heil Hitler” and “13/52” which is shorthand reference to a racist claim about Black Americans, the report pointed out.
“Even more disturbing than the number of white supremacist profiles on TikTok is the sheer volume of readily accessible white supremacist, antisemitic and otherwise hateful video content,” the ADL stated. “This includes a range of content disparaging perceived enemies of the white race, such as Jews and non-white minorities, and expressed reverence of white supremacist leaders and killers.”
Used by more than 800 million people globally, including over 14 million Americans, TikTok is facing a potential ban in the US on national security grounds.
Owned by the Chinese company ByteDance, Tiktok will no longer be able to conduct transactions in the US after Sept. 20 unless it is purchased by an American company, following an executive order signed by President Donald Trump earlier this month.