Mexican drug cartels are ‘using TikTok to recruit youngsters’, experts warn

Mexican drug cartels are using TikTok to recruit youngsters, it has been claimed.

Experts say they use the social media site to paint a ‘glamorous’ lifestyle full of endless cash, parties, exotic pets and weapons.

Cartels are said to have used social media for years to intimidate their enemies by sharing gruesome images and sending messages.

This includes displaying bodies hanging from bridges and disembodied heads.

But they have changed their strategy in a bid to entice young men to join them, the Courier Journal reports.

David Saucedo, a security analyst based in Mexico City, said: "TikTok is being used mainly to promote a lifestyle.”

He said they aim to use it to “generate a picture of luxury and glamour, to show the ‘benefits’ of joining the criminal activities”.

The analyst added: "I'm pretty sure that cartels would have success by promoting their products on TikTok.

“No doubts, TikTok would have this ability to penetrate areas in the white population that they haven't reached before."

  • Nurse can't recognise her family or even herself in UK's worst case of 'face blindness'

There are said to be thousands of videos online which promote a “cartel culture”, according to reports.

Derek Maltz, a former agent in charge of Drug Enforcement Administration's Special Operations Division, told the publication: “The use of social media is very attractive.

“It's very utilised by the younger culture, especially TikTok, and so 100 percent it's a recruitment tool."

The Child Rights Network in Mexico says about 35,000 children and adolescents have been recruited by criminal gangs.

TikTok has removed many of the cartel videos.

In a statement to the Courier Journal, a spokesman said: “The company is committed to working with law enforcement to combat organised criminal activity.

“In line with our community guidelines, we remove content and accounts that promote illegal activity and regulated goods as we work to keep our community safe.”

Source: Read Full Article