Things That Matter

Lifestyles Of The Rich And Dangerous: Cartels Are Using TikTok To Lure Young People

If you’ve ever wondered what someone with a bulletproof vest and an AR-15 would look like flossing — the dance, not the method of dental hygiene — apparently the answer to that question can be found on TikTok.

Unfortunately, it’s not as a part of some absurdist sketch comedy or surreal video art installation. Instead, it’s part of a growing trend of drug cartels in Mexico using TikTok as a marketing tool. Nevermind the fact that Mexico broke grim records last year for the number of homicides and cartel violence, the cartels have found an audience on TikTok and that’s a serious cause for concern.

Mexican cartels are using TikTok to gain power and new recruits.

Just a couple of months ago, a TikTok video showing a legit high-speed chase between police and drug traffickers went viral. Although it looked like a scene from Netflix’s Narcos series, this was a very real chase in the drug cartel wars and it was viewed by more than a million people.

Typing #CartelTikTok in the social media search bar brings up thousands of videos, most of them from people promoting a “cartel culture” – videos with narcocorridos, and presumed members bragging about money, fancy cars and a luxury lifestyle.

Viewers no longer see bodies hanging from bridges, disembodied heads on display, or highly produced videos with messages to their enemies. At least not on TikTok. The platform is being used mainly to promote a lifestyle and to generate a picture of luxury and glamour, to show the ‘benefits’ of joining the criminal activities.

According to security officials, the promotion of these videos is to entice young men who might be interested in joining the cartel with images of endless cash, parties, military-grade weapons and exotic pets like tiger cubs.

Cartels have long used social media to shock and intimidate their enemies.

And using social media to promote themselves has long been an effective strategy. But with Mexico yet again shattering murder records, experts on organized crime say Cartel TikTok is just the latest propaganda campaign designed to mask the blood bath and use the promise of infinite wealth to attract expendable young recruits.

“It’s narco-marketing,” said Alejandra León Olvera, an anthropologist at Spain’s University of Murcia, in a statement to the New York Times. The cartels “use these kinds of platforms for publicity, but of course it’s hedonistic publicity.”

Mexico used to be ground zero for this kind of activity, where researchers created a new discipline out of studying these narco posts. Now, gangs in Brazil, Colombia, El Salvador, and the United States are also involved.

A search of the #CartelTikTok community and its related accounts shows people are responding. Public comments from users such as “Y’all hiring?” “Yall let gringos join?” “I need an application,” or “can I be a mule? My kids need Christmas presents,” are on some of the videos.

One of the accounts related to this cartel community publicly answered: “Of course, hay trabajo para todos,” “I’ll send the application ASAP.” “How much is the pound in your city?” “Follow me on Instagram to talk.” The post, showing two men with $100 bills and alcohol, had more than a hundred comments.

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Kali Uchis’ “Telepatía” is Becoming a Global Hit Thanks to TikTok

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Kali Uchis’ “Telepatía” is Becoming a Global Hit Thanks to TikTok

PHOTO: JORA FRANTZIS

Through the power of TikTok, Kali Uchis is taking her song “Telepatía” to the top. The Colombian-American singer is sitting comfortably in the top 10 of Spotify’s Top 200 chart in the U.S. thanks to a TikTok trend.

This isn’t the first time that TikTok brought new fame to songs.

TikTok has proven to be quite the catalyst for today’s top hits. The app assisted in getting Olivia Rodrigo’s “drivers license” to the top of Billboard Hot 100 chart, where it remains. TikTok also reinvigorated interest in Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams” last year thanks to Doggface’s viral video. Now Uchis is getting her long overdue shine with “Telepatía.”

“Telepatía” is becoming a global hit thanks to the same phenomenon.

At No. 7 on the Spotify U.S. chart, “Telepatía” is the highest-charting Latin song in the country. Bad Bunny’s “Dákiti” with Jhay Cortez is the next closest Latin song at No. 14. “Telepatía” is also making waves across the globe where the song is charting on Spotify’s Viral Charts in 66 countries and in the Top Songs Charts of 32 countries.

There’s also plenty of “Telepatía” memes.

Uchis is turning the viral song’s success into strong sales and streaming. On this week’s Billboard Hot Latin Songs chart, “Telepatía” debuts at No. 10, marking her first top 10 hit on the chart. There are also memes circulating on other social media apps that are contributing to the song’s virality.

“Telepatía” is one of the key cuts on Uchis’ debut Latin album, Sin Miedo (del Amor y Otros Demonios). It’s the best example of her translating that alternative soul music that she’s known for into Spanish. The song is notably in Spanglish as Uchis sings about keeping a love connection alive from a distance. It’s timely considering this era of social distancing that we’re in during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Uchis is currently nominated for a Grammy Award. She’s up for Best Dance Recording for her feature on Kaytranada’s “10%” song.

Read: You Have To Hear Kali Uchis Slay This Classic Latino Song

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TikTok Is Freaking Out After Realizing That The Apple Logo On Your iPhone Is An Extra Button

Things That Matter

TikTok Is Freaking Out After Realizing That The Apple Logo On Your iPhone Is An Extra Button

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Thanks to the good nerds of TikTok, many are discovering there’s a tool hidden in plain sight: the Apple logo on the back of the phone. Yep, it can double as a tool/sensor/button. What the what?!

TikToker Brit Brown posted the iPhone hack back in October of 2020 but it’s making its rounds recently. The video shows users how to program their apple to perform functions like taking a screenshot, opening a particular app, or locking your screen. And it’s not just the Apple logo. Per How to Geek, these shortcuts can be launched by tapping anywhere on the back of your iPhone.

How did we not notice this before? We’re on our phones quite literally all day long.

TikTok reveals the Apple logo on your iPhone is a special button.

So, with iOS 14 software enabled, that shiny Apple logo you’ve been covering up with a case is actually a hidden button that you can program to perform at least 30 different tasks. You can customize your iPhone settings to turn the Apple logo into a tool for taking screenshots, scrolling through Instagram, magnifying pictures, changing your phone’s volume, activating Siri, and more. 

The feature is available to iPhone users with iOS 14 software enabled, and includes an iPhone setting called “Back Tap” that transforms the entire back of your phone into a touch-sensitive tool. This means that, phone case or no phone case, double or triple tapping the back of your device will allow you to access multiple pre-programmed shortcuts. You can even set the “button” as a shortcut to automatically open TikTok, open Netflix, check the time, send a photo text, or customize your own shortcut. 

So what do you have to do to get that extra button?

Remember, it’s a double tap, so if your tech-averse parent is having trouble making this hack work, that might be why. Per How to Geek, this works on iPhone 8s or higher. 

Unfortunately, none of the hacks on here or on TikTok address a potential issue with adding a function to the back of an iPhone: Most people keep their phones in a case. And some of those cases might affect this feature’s functionality. Now, if the company could make a product that didn’t shatter into a million pieces when dropped, that would truly be a feature we could use.

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