The Brief: Some TikTokers are claiming that they've found "Cartel TikTok" after their For You Pages showed them a boat chase and other questionable videos.

Bluesquiggle
DEEP DIVE

TikTokers who have been seeing strange videos pop up on their For You Pages are labeling them as part of “cartel TikTok” and wondering how they ended up on this side of the app. While there’s no actual proof that these videos are associated with any drug cartels, the most commonly cited video that indicates people are on a less-traditional side of the app is one that features a boat chase. Some videos that people have dubbed part of “Cartel TikTok” appear to be comedic or dramatic skits rather than documentation of real events.

@julianpalacios81

♬ sonido original – Julian Palacios

Another video shows someone harvesting part of a fruit in a way that some TikTokers deemed suspicious.

@jesussilva436

♬ Entre LLerva Polvo Y Plomo – Los Herrantes

Most of the videos under the hashtag #CartelTikTok don’t include content from any kind of cartel, but rather discuss how people have cartel-adjacent videos showing up on their For You Pages. Why the TikTok algorithm is feeding so many people with seemingly niche “cartel” content is remains unclear.

@heyimliam

An unexpected turn in the FYP

♬ original sound – Liam Cole

@gosadgoat

interesting, very interesting #fypシ

♬ Entre LLerva Polvo Y Plomo – Los Herrantes

This video notes how people are quick to jump to conclusions based on what they think “cartel TikTok” would look like, making judgements based on people’s race and nationality.

@fabianortiz196

same goes for other mexicans on this app not everything gotta do with the cartel😐 #xyzbca

♬ Entre LLerva Polvo Y Plomo – Los Herrantes

@lolitsjosephrobert

#cartel #carteltiktok #relatable

♬ sonido original – Danny Dankdiviel