I pretended to be a 14-year-old boy on TikTok — what I saw terrified me
( NYPost )
Teenage boys on TikTok are flooded with misogynistic, racist, sexual and violent content — even when they don’t go looking for it, a Post investigation found.
I’m a woman in my early 30s, but I recently created profiles for a fake 14-year-old boy named Jayden on TikTok and YouTube.
My aim wasn’t to use Jayden’s profile to interact with other people online but rather just to see what sort of content the algorithm fed him if he was completely passive.
Within seconds of opening TikTok and YouTube as him, I was bombarded with a dizzying stream of videos of girls lip-syncing and twerking in mini-shorts.
After about a minute, things took a darker turn.
Mega influencers like stuntman-turned-boxer Logan Paul, 27, started popping up.
Paul stars in videos alongside the Sidemen, a popular British YouTube group known for offensive content — one member faced a backlash for his “rape face” video series in 2015.
In their “Sidemen Tinder in Real Life” YouTube series, the men often talk graphically to the women who are invited to their studio to make a potential love connection.
But instead of finding Mr. Right, the girls are often pummeled with insults about their physical appearance.
The most disturbing video I came across on TikTok, however, featured slow-motion footage of a boy, likely around Jayden’s age, in a classroom standing over a girl and swinging his closed fist toward her face as she recoiled.
Jayden was fed another TikTok video stamped with title “Calling my girlfriend the ‘B’ word for her reaction” featuring a young guy repeatedly barking the epithet at his significant other in the hopes of infuriating her for laughs.
Similar videos were in heavy rotation.
I also heard hate-speak about killing orphans, hanging black people and mocking Asian accents disguised as “dark humor” to tickle 14-year-old funny bones as I swiped.
My curiosity about what’s popping up on teen boys’ timelines was piqued by controversial online personality and former “Big Brother” star Andrew Tate, who was recently detained in Romania for an ongoing rape and sex-trafficking investigation.
Tate amassed 4.6 million Instagram followers and 740,000 YouTube followers — many of them impressionable young boys — before being banned from those platforms and TikTok last year because of his misogynistic content.
His hate-fueled sermons labeled women as a man’s property, justified domestic violence and blamed victims of sexual assault for their attacks.
Reposted snippets from his heinous “TateSpeech” channel continue to haunt the internet today, despite the ban on Tate.
On TikTok, posts tagged #AndrewTate — including one in which he vows to brutalize a “bitch” with a machete if she ever dares accuse him of cheating — have earned more than 22.8 billion views.
As Jayden, it only took 30 minutes on TikTok before I was fed a post of Tate laughing at the thought of stoning a Muslim woman to death for standing up to her husband.
A clip titled “Do women like getting murdered?,” shared via an account called @SocialMediaMoney, appeared on my timeline soon after.
In the video, comedian Theo Von, 42, and rapper Logic, 33, joke that women have a fetish-like desire to be “f–king murdered” by their romantic partners.
Another post from an account dedicated to the Sidemen featured a woman asking the boys, “Do you know any good jokes?,” to which one responded, “Gender equality,” inciting an eruption of laughter from the other guys.
The misogyny was most savage on TikTok. On YouTube, there were more guns.
My timeline was filled with shorts about firearms, both real and Airsoft guns — realistic-looking replicas that shoot nonlethal “BBs.”
Tate turned up again, this time brandishing what appeared to be an actual gun while referring to himself as “Trigger Dawg.”
That was one of the last things that I saw as Jayden before deactivating his account. I’d spent five days, scrolling for at least an hour each day, as him, and I’d seen enough.
But the vast majority of young men are still watching.
According to a December 2022 survey from business intelligence company Morning Consult, 93% of boys ages 13 to 25 in the US have YouTube accounts and 62% are on TikTok.
While the platforms do promote some content that’s largely harmless and legitimately entertaining — from Mr. Beast’s stunts to thrilling sports highlights — much of it is seriously sinister.
We should all be terrified.