It’s not strange to hear that a new trend is circulating on TikTok, but it may be strange to hear that the “Boogaloo Bois” are.
Boogaloo is a term used by extremists to describe a movement calling for another civil war and collapse to government/police. The followers of this ideology are often referred to as “Boogaloo Bois” and can be identified by their wardrobes of Hawaiian shirts and tactical gear. Their presence can be found in national anti-police protests and, around a month ago, it took off on TikTok.
The “#Boogaloo” hashtag on TikTok has also manifested into videos of teens and young adults boasting guns and making fun of a second civil war. The new meme also became hot around a month ago but has been taking off again recently. It’s a challenge to social media companies and their policies because there are two main groups that are using the same boogaloo name.
The Original Boogaloo Bois
There’s the group who is actually putting in the effort to incite violence and a second civil war. They take these efforts to real-life protests, making headlines for their presence at anti-police brutality protests. However, they often don’t share the pro-Black Lives Matter sentiment that many protesters share. VICE reports that they don’t protest police brutality’s effects on communities of color, but rather the deadly impact between police and armed anti-government extremists.
Three Boogaloo Bois are now facing federal charges after they were accused of bringing explosives to a protest in Las Vegas, Nevada. Allegedly, they planned to throw them into a crowd of protesters to create chaos.
Then there’s the group of people who are using the boogaloo name as the next big meme or internet joke.
Boogaloo & TikTok
For teens and young adults, joining in on the boogaloo culture on TikTok seems to be the new trend.
In one TikTok, user @golden_walrus dons tactical gear as he makes a joke about having to explain why they’re buying so much tactical gear. In the caption, they write, “Boys, the time is soon…”
TikToks also make references to Duncan Lemp, a 21-year-old with anti-government views who was killed by cops after a nighttime no-knock raid earlier this year. VICE reports that police were doing a high-risk search warrant after a tip that Lemp was in illegal possession of firearms. His death made him a martyr for the Boogaloo Bois.
TikTok has a strict policy against groups that promote harm or hate. They define “dangerous individuals and organizations as those that commit crimes or cause other types of severe harm.” In their guidelines, they ban the posting of content that “praises, glorifies, or supports dangerous individuals and/or organizations.”
They also restrict content involving firearms, ammunition, and explosives outside of a fictional setting or controlled environment. Many boogaloo videos have disclaimers in their captions, writing that the firearms are fakes or replicas.
Like the cult side of TikTok, the boogaloo side of TikTok seems to be more about the meme culture rather than the violence-oriented extremism seen elsewhere. With users poking fun at the movement, the attention is drawn away from its more problematic roots, letting it fly under the moderation radar.