Mexican cartels are advertising on TikTok

Mexican cartels are advertising on TikTok

Videos and photos of semi-automatic weapons, armored cars, piles of cash, and tiger cubs from Mexican mafia families have flooded the social media phenomenon known as TikTok.

About The Mafia TV – YouTube

In an attempt to glorify the Mexican mafia culture, members have been posting videos of exotic cars, exotic pets, and more.  “This is the world of Cartel TikTok, a genre of videos depicting drug trafficking groups and their activities that is racking up hundreds of thousands of views on the popular social media platform,” the New York Times’ report said on Saturday.

Mexican drug cartels are posting on TikTok (The Daily Dot)

Alejandra Leon Olivera, an anthropologist at Spain’s University of Murcia, speaks on the strategy behind drug cartels using social media. “It’s narco-marketing. The cartels use these kinds of platforms for publicity, but of course it is hedonistic publicity.”

This month in the United States, a video of a high-speed boat chase posted by a Mexican cartel member went viral. “As soon as I started liking that boat video, then there’s videos of exotic pets, videos of cars,” said a TikTok user from California.  Due to TikTok’s content algorithm, app users would naturally see more “Cartel TikTok” content if they originally showed an interest.  This is an extreme concern for law enforcement.

A spokesperson at TikTok released a statement where she said that the platform was “committed to working with law enforcement to combat organized criminal activity.”  The company has since removed “content and accounts that promote illegal activity,” with some videos gaining more than 500,000 likes before being deleted.

“Such videos may be intended for a Mexican audience, but for users in the United States who help promote them, they tap into an increasingly popular fascination with the cartel world, one propagated by shows like ‘Narcos’ on Netflix,” the New York Times’ report said.