TikTok has always been a privileged platform for spreading conspiracy theories: disinformation videos related to Qanon, Bill Gates, Zuckerberg, Soros, etc, have been thriving on the Chinese social media platform.

Recently a video* has gone viral on TikTok, asking the question of whether there is a possible glitter shortage. The video already reached millions of views, and people are reacting and sharing massively, creating videos about their own theories.

This video is the source of what has become a real social media campaign — and here are the reasons why it worked so well:

– Tone: Suspense music

– Credibility: Name-dropping of well-known sources (such as the New York Times)

– Interest: Specific keywords that always match conspiracy theories

– Design: High-quality editing

– To be continued: The video ends with a question

It contains all the elements of the great recipe for virality. By the way, we could replace the word “glitter” with any other topic of interest and the video would still make sense.

Users are sharing and talking about this campaign massively on TikTok. We can clearly see an influence campaign going on based on unverifiable facts. This is a real-time example of how an insignificant topic such as glitters supply and/or shortage can become a huge success on social media with a well-thought marketing strategy.

But what could be the purpose of all this?

We cannot know but we can only presume.

Is it only a parody made by people who got bored? Is someone trying to test influence tactics and capabilities from an apparent random topic?

Or was Glitterex, one of the biggest glitters companies mentioned in the initial video, willing to make the headlines just before the holidays, creating an emergency for purchasing the company’s products?

If the last hypothesis is verified, their marketing strategist should probably get a raise…

*The video was first posted by an account called @chuppl (“Jack”) on 11/10/22, with 51K followers, and 1,5+ likes — this is the only publication of the account.

Georgina Benaim, Influence Architect & Lea Abramski, OSINT expert