Inside the World of TikTok Spammers and the AI Tools That Enable Them

This is where AI generated formats, Minecraft splitscreens, Reddit stories, 'Would You Rather' videos, and deep sea story spam come from.
Image: Musa Mustafa and four TikToks advertised by
Image: Musa Mustafa and four TikToks advertised by
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At 404 Media we have tried very hard to make our content the old-fashioned way, but, after watching an Instagram Reel that suggested we could get wildly rich with no effort, I decided to dive into the exciting world of creating spam by recycling other people’s content using basic AI tools.

We have recently been getting bombarded with Instagram Reels of influencers explaining how they make five figures a month by using AI to create tons of viral TikTok pages using stolen celebrity clips juxtaposed next to Minecraft gameplay footage. This strategy, the influencers say, allows them to passively make $10,000 a month by flooding social media platforms with stolen and low-effort clips while working from private helicopters, the beach, the ski slope, a park, etc. 

What I found was a complex ecosystem of content parasitism, with thousands of people using a variety of AI tools to make low-quality spammy videos that recycle Reddit AMAs, weird “Would You Rather” games, AI-narrated “scary ocean” clips, ChatGPT-generated fun facts, slideshows of tweets, clips lifted from celebrities, YouTubers, and podcasts. 

To help these people fill the internet with nonsense, there is an entire industry of creators, influencers, hustlers, and software developers selling them templates, stock clips, TikTok account creation services, cash out services, low-wage video editors in the developing world, AI voiceover and editing tools, and different “strategies” or “metas” to go viral enough to earn money from YouTube’s AdSense or from TikTok’s Creativity Program Beta, a monetization program that pays for “high-quality, longer TikTok videos” but which AI content influencers say can be easily gamed with low-effort content. 

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