Social media network TikTok now has its very own vigilante, and he’s taken aim at cyberbullies. Going by the name the Great Londini, this online avenger has taken it upon himself to expose the identities of bullies and trolls wherever he finds them. However, some worry that the popular TikToker stirs up just as much hate as he stops.
“We are taking social media back from the bullies, pedophiles, scammers and trolls,” Londini said in one video.
Scrolling through his TikTok account, @thegreatlondini.com, reveals dozens of videos of a masked figure, voice electronically disguised, calling out commenters who make hateful remarks on the platform. In many cases, Londini included personal information about the commenters, including their real names and links to their social media accounts.
According to the BBC, the Great Londini claims to be able to find anyone’s identity in no more than eight clicks. For child offenders, he uses the information to contact their parents or school. For adults, he notifies employers and even local police.
The man behind the Great Londini, who identified himself only as Leon, said he sends all of his findings to TikTok.
“We do tell TikTok everything,” Leon said. “We send every piece of information, we report the account.”
A Tragic Origin
The anonymous mastermind said the mission of the Great Londini — actually Leon and a group of volunteers with military, hacking and cybersecurity expertise — began when his friend’s 14-year-old autistic son took his own life.
“My friend after a while, after he was grieving, he reached out to us and said, you know, part of the reason why he was so depressed is because he was being harassed a lot on social media,” Leon said.
The boy’s father asked Leon and a few friends to track down his son’s bullies.
“We were able to give him the information and say, ‘Hey, do what you need to do with it,'” Leon said. “And he reached out to their parents and got, for the most part, he got some closure.”
Cleaning Up TikTok…
According to Leon, the Great Londini succeeds where TikTok’s own content moderation fails.
“They’re not doing [their job],” Leon said of TikTok’s moderators.
In response, however, TikTok touted recent new additions to its moderation tools, including allowing users to block commenters or filter out certain words.
“We know there is no finish line when it comes to protecting our users, which is why we will continue to invest in our teams, products and features to ensure that TikTok is a safe place for our community,” a company spokesperson said.
…Or Inspiring More Bullies?
Meanwhile, concerns have arisen that the Great Londini’s mission creates just as much bullying as it prevents. Some of the clips on the account provide identifying information for individuals behind hateful comments. At least one video directs users to the group’s Instagram page — where an upload of the same video provides a user’s full name and Facebook profile.
“If you look on his profile info he has listed his mother’s and sister’s accounts under family,” a top comment on the Instagram post read.
The BBC also spoke to a TikTok user by the name of Liz who received abusive comments after the Great Londini shared a clip of hers criticizing the Memorial Day holiday. Followers of the Great Landini responded by telling her to kill herself and attempting to contact her employer and get her fired.
“It does seem hypocritical that they’re an anti-bullying account, but a lot of their followers are bullying people on the platform,” Liz told the BBC.
“I understand their passion, especially when it comes to veterans,” Leon said of the angry commenters. “But we try to lead by example. We don’t harass her. I wish that woman nothing but the best.”
For the time being, the Great Londini shows no signs of slowing down. Leon is now operating his tenth Great Londini account — the last nine were banned by TikTok.
“Until every bully racist and scammer is off the app, we’re going nowhere,” the masked figure assured viewers in one clip.