Research Note: Spreading Hate on TikTok

Gabriel Weimann, Natalie Masri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


TikTok is the fastest-growing application today, attracting a huge audience of 1.5 billion active users, mostly children and teenagers. Recently, the growing presence of extremist’s groups on social media platforms became more prominent and massive. Yet, while most of the scholarly attention focused on leading platforms like Twitter, Facebook or Instagram, the extremist immigration to other platforms like TikTok went unnoticed. This study is a first attempt to find the Far-right’s use of TikTok: it is a descriptive analysis based on a systematic content analysis of TikTok videos, posted in early 2020. Our findings reveal the disturbing presence of Far-right extremism in videos, commentary, symbols and pictures included in TikTok’s postings. While similar concerns were with regard to other social platforms, TikTok has unique features to make it more troublesome. First, unlike all other social media TikTok’ s users are almost all young children, who are more naïve and gullible when it comes to malicious contents. Second, TikTok is the youngest platform thus severely lagging behind its rivals, who have had more time to grapple with how to protect their users from disturbing and harmful contents. Yet, TikTok should have learned from these other platforms’ experiences and apply TikTok’s own Terms of Service that does not allow postings that are deliberately designed to provoke or antagonize people, or are intended to harass, harm, hurt, scare, distress, embarrass or upset people or include threats of physical violence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)752-765
Number of pages14
JournalStudies in Conflict and Terrorism
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2020
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020, © 2020 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Safety Research
  • Political Science and International Relations


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