Days after the arrest of Andrew Tate, Twitter and TikTok began amplifying deliberate lies by fans of the popular misogynist that Tate had been released, actions that have discredited the social media platforms. The posts fooled many, but it turned out they were completely false as Tate remains held in custody in Romania.
The top Twitter post in searches for “Andrew Tate released” reshared an old video of the 36-year old’s interview with Tucker Carlson discussing his arrest in August. It was packaged as though it were new. The video garnered 2.8 million views and the post itself got 3,000 likes.
Also read: Not Everyone Loves ChatGPT: Here’s Why
“Update: Andrew Tate released without charges after swatting incident. Handled it with class and dignity,” tweeted Tate fan, @KaladinFree. “In other news, liberals and one semi-retarded tree hugger are suddenly suffering from mass depression.”
Andrew Tate arrested for rape, human-trafficking
Andrew Tate is a popular online influencer best known for his misogynistic opinions. The British-American was arrested with his brother Tristan in Romania on Dec. 29, as part of an investigation into human trafficking, rape and organized crime, the Guardian reports.
Prosecutors said in a statement last week that four individuals, including two British citizens, are believed to be members of a criminal gang that exploited women for sex after enticing them with promises of a relationship.
The women were allegedly subjected to “physical violence and mental coercion through intimidation, constant surveillance, control and invoking alleged debts.” They were forced to make pornographic videos. Prosecutors said they found six women exploited by the suspects.
Additional details of the specific allegations against Tate have not been made public. Tate and his brother will spend the next 30 days in jail after a judge denied them bail on Friday. This should give Romania’s Directorate for Investigating Organized Crime and Terrorism time to continue its investigations.
Andrew Tate freed, claim Twitter fans
Following Tate’s arrest, thousands of his supporters have taken to social media sharing posts that the ex-Big Brother contestant had been freed from jail in Romania without providing evidence to back their claims.
On Twitter, Tate’s 4.2 million followers used hash tags such as #FreeTopG and #tateinnocent to spread theories that Tate was falsely accused and framed by state actors.
A top three post on Twitter in searches for “Andrew Tate released” simply states: “Andrew Tate released from jail.” The old video amassed more than 408,000 views and 4,000 likes within days of being posted online.
Andrew Tate Released From Jail pic.twitter.com/lWltW4n70x
— CrossedChains (@CrossedChains) December 30, 2022
In it, the narrator speaks about Tate’s arrest and how security agents confiscated a lot of the brothers’ assets including iPads, a YouTube studio and $400,000 in cash. Andrew Tate nods in agreement while sitting casually in a chair, his head resting nonchalantly in his hand.
Another clip with 323K views purports to show “Andrew and Tristan celebrating after being released from custody.” The video shows them taking shots of whiskey and talking about sex in a room packed with scantily dressed women. Loud music is playing in the background.
Twitter is hardly the only site spreading misinformation about the alleged release of Andrew Tate. Users of other social media platforms such as TikTok have put up elaborate schemes to fool people into believing the former kickboxer had been released.
On Dec. 30, the most-liked new video about Tate involved one that “appeared at first to be a factual report,” the Guardian reports. But it ended by asking users: “What do you guys think is the real reason Tate was arrested? Was it the Matrix, or did Tate actually commit a serious crime?”
The Guardian reports an investigation by the Observer in August into Tate “revealed that TikTok was aggressively promoting his content to users including boys and young men.” Members of Tate’s online academy “had been instructed to post deliberately controversial clips in an effort to boost engagement and manipulate the algorithm,” it added.
‘The Matrix got me’
Andrew Tate may have carefully shaped opinions regarding in his arrest. On Friday, a day after his arrest, he or someone logging into his account tweeted that “The Matrix sent their agents.” He was referring to the 1999 eponymous sci-fi movie in which people lived in a simulation.
In this context, “The Matrix” is supposed to represent Big Brother, state agents who police free speech and punish thought crime. Many of Tate’s followers have rehashed his views, blaming “The Matrix” for setting the man up.
On Jan. 1, Tate doubled down on his claims. “My unmatched perspicacity coupled with sheer indefatigability makes me a feared opponent in any realm of human endeavor,” he wrote on Twitter. “For every domain the Matrix shuts down, we have dozens ready to replace it.”
My unmatched perspicacity coupled with sheer indefatigability makes me a feared opponent in any realm of human endeavor.
For every domain the Matrix shuts down, we have dozens ready to replace it.
Find The Real World here:https://t.co/0wFTUaN1cv
— Andrew Tate (@Cobratate) January 1, 2023
Social media networks have struggled to contain content that spreads falsehoods, hate speech or fan violence. However, the likes of Facebook and YouTube have responded with more aggressive moderation policies and practices. Andrew Tate was banned from Twitter in 2017 for similar offenses but was reinstated recently after the Elon Musk takeover.
It is incredible the platform has allowed fans of Tate to spread misinformation unchecked, even when it had been reported the former kickboxer remained in detention.
At this scale, users can trust Twitter and other social media networks’ content at their own risk. Most people already don’t trust social media. Only 24% believe social media does a good job separating fact from fiction, according to a Reuters Institute survey.