The Brief: The TikTok Cult Wars involve so-called TikTok cults recruiting members, changing their profile pictures, and spamming comments sections.
In May 2020, the TikTok “Cult Wars” began after several popular TikTok cults started competing for dominance. TikTokers are forming “cults” where they change their profile pictures to match and flood comments sections with messages.
At the time of writing, the most prominent cult in the arena is known as The Step-Chickens, who are led by @chunkysdead. Top competitors include @adrianxortiz’s “Weenies” and @myleswithuhy’s “Babbages.” Dozens of other small cults are popping up with names and themes like The Flamingos, The Murder Hornets, Duck Sanctuary, Beardians, and #YeeHawSquad. An alliance of cults that oppose The Step-Chickens known as Jeff has been formed with several leaders who are former members of The Step-Chickens.
So far, the TikTok Cult Wars have mostly been a way for people to pass the time while they’re #BoredInTheHouse. For cult leaders, mobilizing their followings can be an effective way to increase their clout, grow their presence on TikTok, and even sell merch. While most cult interactions take place in the form of playful rivalry, some trolls have gone as far as to engage in harassment and cyberbullying, which cult leaders have explicitly denounced.
Cults have been participating in the TikTok #CultWars through what are known as “Battle Zones:” comments sections where they agree to all go at a certain time and make comments that praise their cult. Some leaders have suggested that the Cult Wars should migrate to other platforms as well, competing to dominate on Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.