The rise and ban of Andrew Tate and the lessons about social media regulation

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The son of a catering assistant and chess master, Tate has long been making headlines for stirring controversy…
The rise and rise of Andrew Tate

Andrew Tate made many claims. With the braggadocio of the snake-oil salesman, he claimed on TikTok that the only education that mattered was the one attained at his Hustler’s University. He called women “properties” of their husbands.

On a popular podcast, he said that women should be rough-handed, subdued and never be in charge. “It’s bang out the machete, boom in her face and grip her by the neck. Shut up bitch,” he screamed in one video. Another podcast crowned him ”King of Toxic Masculinity.”

His videos on TikTok have been watched 11.6 billion times. On Instagram, he had 4.7 million followers. Some 760,000 users subscribed to his YouTube channel.

Then, he was kicked off the internet.

All this and Andrew Tate insist he is not the embodiment of misogyny. In an episode of his podcast Tate Speech, responding to claims that he was promoting hateful misogynistic ideologies, he said:

“I can’t handle it. I can’t possibly fathom a world where there’s some fat loser on the internet who thinks that I’m a misogynist even though he gets no [expletive] and all the women love me and not him…I super care so much. I can’t even put in human words how much I care. I am a master of rhetoric. I have a grasp of the English language which is nearly unparalleled on the internet. I have the ability to make my ideas translate through space-time into the minds of other men but I cannot describe in words how much I don’t like and can’t handle being a misogynist.”

The Alpha-Male movement

As the world enjoys a relative consensus that it has failed to treat women as equal human beings, there have been some pushbacks. On ClubHouse, Alpha-Male Mentality regularly hosts irreverent rooms about whether or not a woman in her thirties deserves a man.

As America protested stringent abortion laws, congressman Matt Gaetz ranged; “Have you watched these pro-abortion, pro-murder rallies?” he said. “The people are just disgusting. Why is it that the women with the least likelihood of getting pregnant are the ones most worried about having abortions?” In South Korea, men’s rights advocates chanted “ugly feminist pigs” at a women’s rally.

And, Andrew Tate is only one of many who has taken a page from this book to cultivate a following.

The rise and rise of Andrew Tate
Tate was kicked off Big Brother in 2016. Image source: NBC

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But for him, however, it was the end of the road for him. Social media companies YouTube, TikTok, Instagram and Facebook all kicked him off their platforms in the space of four days.

A spokesperson for YouTube after his account was shut down said:

“We terminated channels associated with Andrew Tate for multiple violations of our Community Guidelines and Terms of Service, including our hate speech policy. If a channel is terminated, the uploader is unable to use, own or create any other YouTube channels.”

A spokesperson for TikTok responding to a report on Tate by the Guardian UK said: “Misogyny and other hateful ideologies and behaviours are not tolerated on TikTok, and we are working to review this content and take action against violations of our guidelines. We continually look to strengthen our policies and enforcement strategies, including adding more safeguards to our recommendation system.”

Even for Twitter, the hotbed of all kinds of insulting and maligning clap backs, Andrew Tate was too much to handle. Since 2017, the micro-blogging platforms had suspended his account for his take on the #MeToo movement and for saying that women should “bear some responsibility” for being raped.

The companies said that he had violated their rules on hateful ideology which they say has no place on their platforms.

Many Tate videos appear, at first glance, to be harmless, even funny, the Guardian notes. In his trademark straight-talking style, he derides men who drink tap water instead of sparkling water and people who own cats. “Real men have dogs,” he says. Other material is presented under a banner of male self-improvement.

But many others have been deemed to meet the definition of hateful content set out in many community guidelines. The big question is what is about Andrew Tate that aided his rise to fame?

The making of Andrew Tate

Andrew Tate rose to fame as a kickboxer, winning multiple professional matches across the globe. He was raised on an estate in Luton, England. The son of a catering assistant and chess master, Tate has long been making headlines for stirring controversy.

Then he tried his hands in the world of reality shows as a contestant on Big Brother UK in 2016. After the infamous video of him hitting a woman with a belt surfaced online, he was eliminated. He said at the time that it was “consensual.”

Then, other content of the British-American kickboxer posing with fast cars, and guns and portraying himself as a cigar-smoking playboy began to trend on social media. His videos are mostly offering his (mostly male) fans secrets for making wealth, attracting girls and beating the system.

In a matter of months, Andrew Tate has gone from near obscurity to one of the most talked about people in the world. In fact, he had more Google searches for his name than Donald Trump or Kim Kardashian in July.

The rise and rise of Andrew Tate
Image source: Google

As we learned, there was a method to the madness. His rapid rise to fame was not by chance.

According to the Observer, followers of Tate (mostly thousands of members of Tate’s private online academy Hustler’s University and a network of copycat accounts on TikTok) were told to flood social media with videos of him, choosing the most controversial clips in order to achieve maximum views and engagement.

Tate himself does not appear to be active on the platform.

In one guide, Hustler’s University “students” are told that attracting “comments and controversy” is the key to success: “What you ideally want is a mix of 60-70% fans and 40-30% haters. You want arguments, you want war”, the Guardian reports.

And, the coordinated effort was a masterstroke in manipulating the content algorithm.

According to a report by the Guardian, “in less than three months, the strategy has earned him a huge following online and potentially made him millions of pounds, with 127,000 members now paying the £39 a month to join Hustler’s University community”.

At the end, controversy sells!

The growing trend of hate speakers

Tate is not the first person who has faced backlash for brazen misogynistic screeds on the internet or otherwise. There has been a resistance to what many describe as “western ideologies” on gender.

Especially for Twitter, this is not the first time the company is banning people from its platform. In 2016, it suspended the verified account of Richard Spencer, who had cultivated a following for his extreme views including that blacks, Asians, Hispanics and Jews be removed from the U.S.

Spencer protesting the suspension of his account said that it was an “execution.” “I am alive physically but digitally speaking there has been execution squads across the alt-right,” he said. “There is a great purge going on and they are purging people based on their views.” In 2018 Facebook also banned his account from its platform.

Alessandro Strumia, the physicist was suspended by the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) for his lecture on “High Energy Theory and Gender,” in which he claimed that physics was “invented and built by men, it’s not by invitation.”

The former Google engineer, James Damore was fired after he wrote his manifesto in which he claimed that women biologically did not deserve to work in tech.

The rise and rise of Andrew Tate
Baner of his podcast Tate Speech. Image source: Audible

There is nothing new in all of these provocative remarks.

The argument for many of these influencers mostly men to their mostly male audience who hang on to their every single maligning expression against women is that the western world has lost it. They claim that by accepting progressing feminist ideologies they have succeeded in improvising a world order.

Even though there are multiple places in the world where women’s rights are not codified into law, where these influencers can live in the world where they tell their followers “how it should be” they choose to remain in the so-called western world that they rally against.

Tate for instance famously said: “If you’re a man living in England or Germany or America or any of the western world right now you’ve decided to live in a country where any woman…at any point in the future can destroy your life.”

Now Andrew Tate says that the narrative that he is a raging misogynist is “so pertinently false.”

In a recent video posted by another Youtuber Jake Paul, he added that the narrative has festered in part because he “was taught that going to the authorities and crying and hoping someone else is going to fix your problems is not the way a man conducts himself.”

See more excerpts below:

"Due to the fact I've been able to develop an iron mind because I am probably the only individual who can be vilified to this level without taking personal insult and without being emotionally affected. I've allowed certain narratives to gain traction when I shouldn't have.

To a degree, I am a victim of my own success," he continues. "People are trying to find any little clip of anything I've ever said, remove all the tonality and blow it up to get views and be as controversial as possible. This has culminated in the media believing something about me that is so pertinently false, based on videos I have never made, [which are] purported, accelerated and advertised by people I don't even know. I've become the No.1 villain on earth and I believe that is unjust."

Bottomline

This is not an ideology that can be solved just by kicking Andrew Tate off the internet.

His message has spread too far already. What can be done going forward however is for other social media companies to take a page off Twitter’s book, which kicked him off in 2017. The only solution to these types of characters on the internet is for big tech to act and act swiftly.


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