The Global Project Against Hate and Extremism (GPAHE) has documented a series of hashtags driving users to neo-Nazi content on TikTok. They spread content about the white supremacist Great Replacement conspiracy theory, white supremacy in general, and glorify Nazism and Hitler. The material is connected to the hashtag #aryanclassic, which appears to be the most popular Nazi-specific hashtag used by these accounts. According to Brand24, 374 videos with the hashtag have been posted in the last month alone (March 12-April 12, 2023).
The tag is found on videos such as one with controversial internet influencer Pewdiepie’s face surrounded by Nazi symbols. Captioned below the video are a seemingly disconnected collection of hashtags: #education, #fyp, #blm, #lgbtq, #pewdiepie, along with #aryanclassic.
TikTok has allowed for the spread of this explicitly neo-Nazi hashtag to the point where, as of April 2023, videos containing the #AryanClassic hashtag have collected an astonishing 20.5 million views. Posts will often also include #a10, #evropa, #saveeurope (a hashtag related to Great Replacement), #europeinvicta, #14, #88, and #whatsappborea. These hashtags, especially #aryanclassic and #a10, are used to signify someone’s status as a “true Aryan” or simply to connect with other neo-Nazi and fascist accounts across TikTok. Some accounts may already be anticipating content moderation from TikTok, as they are beginning to separate the hashtag into #aryan #classic or phrases like “an aryan#classic” to avoid detection.
The material connected to the hashtag displays Nazi symbols like the swastika, totenkopf, and black sun. Content itself includes picture and video compilations featuring prominent fascist figures like Hitler, Mussolini, and Oswald Mosely accompanied by music meant to portray them as formidable figures. One can also find memes glorifying the Holocaust and comment sections rife with Nazi chatter. Videos are filled with comments such as “[Hitler] wanted to protect us,” “W hitler,” “Hail Hi****,” and “watch europa the last battle.” Posts featuring the words “aryan classic” within a video and not in the captions also appear under the search term.
In some of the more bizarre video memes, posts featuring #whatsappborea (a reference to Hyperborea, a staple of Esoteric Nazism) will modify the WhatsApp logo to resemble Nazi imagery. The first video using the hashtag was posted by “Aryan Gosling” on March 23, 2023, featuring a man clad in green and wielding two WhatsApp logos edited to resemble the Black Sun. Other videos posted by this account promote Nazis, such as fighter pilot Hans Joachim-Marseille.
#Whatsappborea is sometimes used in conjunction with #aryanclassic as a meme format. One #whatsappclassic posted by “whatsappwarlock88”, for example, features a picture detailing the “WhatsApp Axis vs. Messengerite Cabal” and is accompanied by #aryanclassic, #whatsappborea, and #savewhatsapp. WhatsApp is attributed to the Nazis and Axis powers, while antisemitic images are used to demonstrate Meta’s Messenger app as the “cabal” which must be destroyed. Comment sections elaborate on this sentiment, including some which mirror Nazi terminology like “Heil Whatsapp.” Entire accounts dedicated to the meme both use and modify the #aryanclassic hashtag to spread this new meme.
Dangerously, these memes do not stay in fringe areas of TikTok, but are sometimes unwittingly used by mainstream users. For example, the Overwatch-focused meme page artzlol2 unknowingly used the hashtag. While the account owner posted an apology video for using #Whatsappborea, Nazis already started posting in their comment section. The malicious use of hashtags by Nazis on TikTok has enabled them to infiltrate the comment sections of accounts where people are simply scrolling through their For You page.
TikTok should immediately abide by its own rules and restrict the use of #AryanClassic and the related hashtags and memes used to spread the vile hate and bigotry that so often inspires violence.