I had never really considered how Mexican drug cartels attracted young recruits to come work for them, but I think I just kinda figured that the prospects in some places over there were so bleak that everyone just gravitated towards the cartels as the only option. That makes sense, right?
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Turns out that they have a much more savvy recruitment policy than I thought though as they’re actively using social media to promote what they’re calling ‘cartel culture’ and attract young people to come and work for them. Obviously, this means that they’re using TikTok at the moment and after a video of a cartel involved in a boat chase went viral, all sorts of videos started popping up in people’s feeds promoting the lifestyle, including ones featuring fast cars, exotic pets, people shooting guns, people counting money and of farmers cutting up poppies and preparing drugs.
Here’s the original video of the boat chase in a video I found on YouTube called ‘The Best Of Cartel TikTok’ (a lot of the original TikToks have been deleted now). I stuck a few more I found on TikTok today as well to illustrate that the platform probably isn’t doing enough to shut them down:
@bstchld##duet with @brian_adams313 ##carteltiktok
@bstchld##duet with @ozbornfree ##carteltiktok
@bstchld##duet with @anardreams ##carteltiktok
Yeah, I dunno. Whilst all that stuff does look kind of glamorous and exciting, it also looks super dangerous and scary and like you could die at any minute from being involved with it. Cool to watch sure, but I’m not sure if it’s gonna convince me to throw everything away and run off to join a cartel.
I would like to think that most people are just happy to watch the TikToks and live vicariously through them, but I’m sure there are a few kids out there watching these and thinking sign me up, so TikTok should really be doing a better job of taking them down as soon as they go up. I guess they’re having the same problem as Facebook had with monitoring content though and it’ll be a while before they manage to figure out some safeguards to protect people, and even then there will just be some other new platform the cartels can use to attract people. They’re never going to go away and I don’t think social media is really the problem here.
For more of the same, check out the inside scoop on the insignias and uniforms of Mexican drug cartels. Very interesting information.