Guns, Drugs and Viral Content: Welcome to Cartel Tickcock

MEXICO CITY – Tiger Cubs and Semiconductor Weapons. Stacks of cash and armored cars. Poppies’ fields were watered with the sounds of ballads glorifying Mexican drug cartel culture.

This is the world of Cartel Ticketcock, a genre of videos featuring drug trafficking groups and their activities giving hundreds of thousands of views on popular social media platforms.

But behind narco Bling and Dancing Gang members hold an ominous reality: With Mexico breaking the murder record again this year, organized crime experts say Cartel Tickcock is just the latest propaganda campaign to thwart the blood bath Designed and uses the promise of infinite wealth to attract expenditure, youth are recruits.

“This is narco-marketing, studies anthropomorphic Mexican organized crime groups on social media,” said anthropologist Alejandra Leon Olavera at the University of Murcia, Spain. Cartels “use this type of platform for publicity, but definite It is propagandistic propaganda. “

Boasting on Mexican social media for years, cartel content began flooding Ticketock feeds into the United States this month, when clips of a high-speed boat chase went viral on a video-sharing platform.

Boat Chase videos were served to American Teenagers on their For You page, which advises users to deliver attractive videos. Millions of people liked and shared the clip. His click promoted the video in the For You page algorithm, meaning more people saw it.

And when he saw the video of the boat chase, the algorithm started giving him a befitting offer, then a flood of clips coming from drug trafficking groups in Mexico.

“As soon as I started liking that boat video, videos of exotic pets, videos of cars,” said Ricardo, an 18-year-old California tikaro interested in cartel culture.

“It’s fascinating,” he said, “like watching a movie.”

Others also began to notice a surge of cartel videos, and filled in their feeds, posting reactions to the temptation of guns and luxury cars.

“Has the cartel completed its Tiktok marketing strategy?” One video has some 490,000 views from an alcoholic user. “Is Coronavirus Affecting Virus Sales?”

When asked about his policy regarding the video, a Tiktok spokesman said the company was “committed to working with law enforcement to combat organized criminal activity,” and that it “removed such content and accounts Those who promote illegal activity. ” Examples of cartel videos sent to TikTok for comment were soon removed from the platform.

While cartel content may be new to most teen tikkors, depictions of online alcoholic culture go back more than a decade, according to Ayan Grillo, author of “Teen Narco: Inside Mexicos Criminal Insurgency,” when Mexicans bloody against it War was waging. Producers Association.

At first, the videos were crude and violent – images of the beggars and tortures posted on YouTube, designed to kill fear in rival gangs and show ruthlessness to government forces that were against them.

But as social platforms evolved and cartels became more digitally savvy, content became more sophisticated.

In July, A. Video that aired widely Fatigals on social media featured members of the ruthless Jalisco New Generation cartel, held high-caliber weapons and cheered their leader in front of dozens of armored cars branded with CJNG, the cartel’s Spanish initials.

The force’s show appeared online at the same time as President Andrés Manuel López visiting the states that formed the stronghold of the Obredor cartel.

“There is a kind of kick, which is a punch in the stomach for the government’s security strategy,” Mr. Grillo said.

Mr Lopez Obredor, who promised to confront the crime with “no throat bullets”, has so far been unable to make a significant dent in the country’s growing violence with records 34,582 murders Registered only last year.

But while some videos are still made to strike terror, others are made to show young people in rural Mexico the potential benefits of engaging in the drug trade: endless cash, expensive cars, beautiful women, Exotic Pets.

“It’s all about the dream, it’s about the hustle,” said Ed Calderon, a security consultant and former member of Mexican Mexican Enforcement. “That’s what they sell.”

According to senior Mexico analyst Falco Ernst of the global think tank International Crisis Group, some Tektok videos may be made by cartel members themselves, particularly young hit men or “cicos” eager to show off the spoils of war.

Still, he said, most are presumably filmed by young, lower-level operatives in gangs, then widely shared on the web by their friends or longing for lifestyles.

But whether they are created or shared by cartels or simply created by aspiring gangsters, the ultimate goal is the same: drawing in an army of young people who are ready to give their lives for a chance at glory.

The gangs, Mr. Ernst said, depend on a “sea of ​​youth”.

And videos of bezelweed guns and decked-out cars have been circulating on Instagram and Facebook for years, while Tiktok has brought a new dimension to the cartel genre.

“The message has to be quick, it’s confusing, and it has to go viral,” said anthropologist Ms. Leon. “Violence becomes fun, or music is also put down.”

A video, which had more than 500,000 likes before it was removed, shows a farmer cutting unseeded pods in a poppy field, presumably to harvest the resin for heroin production.

“Here in the mountains, there are only hard workers,” says on a voice. “Just good people.”

In another video, in reference to the Jalisco cartel, from a now-disabled account called “CJNG’s Harlequin”, a figure dressed in black with a bulletproof vest and AR-15 rifle, dancing as floss Is the trick.

Such videos may be intended for a Mexican audience, but for users in the United States who help promote them, they tap into the cartel’s increasingly popular attraction in the world, one on Netflix “Narcos “As promoted by the show.

He was a part of a Mr. Angeles, California teenager whose parents immigrated from Mexico before he was born.

Even when she acknowledged the real-world violence behind the video, Cartel Tickcock became a way to connect with Mexican popular culture from a safe distance.

“There is a difference between watching ‘Narcos’ And there are kidnappings one after another.

The videos also remind that during life their parents did not look for better opportunities north of the border to see what might happen.

“I could be in that lifestyle,” Mr. Angeles said. But “I would be shattered and nameless compared to the very rich and famous.”

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