by James Billot
Wednesday, 22
April 2020
Explainer
07:00

The Groypers’ new battleground: TikTok

by James Billot

The Groypers are on the move again. As part of their full-scale assault on ‘Conservative Inc.,’ this Extremely Online group of young ethnonationalists are waging war on a new front: TikTok. According to self-proclaimed Groyper King, Nicholas Fuentes, the reason for the move is to expose a generation of Zoomers to the America First philosophy of strong borders and isolationism (that they are using a Chinese platform to proselytise about the virtues of American labour is neither here nor there).

With a dedicated legion of followers, Fuentes is using similar guerrilla-style tactics on TikTok to what he employed on college campuses. In the same way that he tried to goad prominent conservative speakers like Ben Shapiro and Turning Point president Charlie Kirk into debating him, Fuentes is flooding the social media channels of conservative TikTokers with Groypers calling them out for their ‘fake’ conservatism.

@nickjfuentesThe Groyper Army has arrived ##conservative ##americafirst ##groyper♬ original sound – nickjfuentes

Fuentes stays true to form in his first TikTok video, which opens with a clip of a conservative TikTok influencer called Nick Lowenberg saying: “Doing a mass deportation of every single illegal immigrant here is not a good idea” before cutting to an America First logo and a ‘loading’ sign for a ‘real’ conservative, namely Fuentes. Lowenberg’s comment refers to Trump’s promise of mass deportations last year, and his criticism was taken as a sign of the TikToker’s shilling for Conservative Inc.

Closed borders have been at the top of the Groyper wish-list for some time now, so when Donald Trump tweeted this week that he was going to sign an executive order suspending immigration for a year, it was hailed as a big victory for the movement. Inevitably, the pro-Trump memes quickly followed.

Trump worship is a core tenet of the Groyper movement. It was no mistake that the music in this video is by the president’s most famous supporter, Kanye West, who strongly implied that he will be voting for him again in 2020. That has made the rapper an immensely popular figure among the Groypers, whose dragon energy will undoubtedly breathe life into the president’s campaign. The video then ends with Fuentes giving a speech from his anime tower, which is the outside view of the ‘set’ from which he gives his daily broadcasts.

It is easy to see why these videos will perform well on TikTok. A combination of sophisticated editing techniques and the multimedia tools on the platform give a wide berth for creative messaging. And if there is one thing that the Groypers have a lot of, it is time, so you can expect to see many more well-crafted, suitably provocative TikTok videos coming out in the near future. In less than a week, Fuentes has already accrued over 5,000 followers and #groyper hashtags are starting to proliferate on the channel. Be warned, the Groyper invasion has begun.

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