OPINION | The actions of Gabbie Hanna and Andrew Tate should be cause for concern

Social media personalities Andrew Tate and Gabbie Hanna have recently been the subjects of controversy.

Former boxer and current social media influencer Andrew Tate has been removed from several social media platforms due to his misogynistic comments that went against platform guidelines. This resulted in Tate moving to the video site Rumble, which markets itself as being “immune to cancel culture”. Romanian authorities have also investigated Tate regarding allegations of sex trafficking and rape.

Creators like Tate who tend to fall under the manosphere community have repeatedly been accused of promoting misogyny, anti-feminism and toxic forms of masculinity. I think Tate being removed from social media platforms was a justified response. Many people who are fans or just casual viewers of manosphere content either range from people who already have toxic views or young men who fall victim to manosphere rhetoric. In either case, creators such as Tate tend to validate these toxic views in others or exploit viewers, all while packaging it under the guise of being a positive male role model. 

YouTuber Gabbie Hanna recently startled her Tiktok followers after publishing 100 videos in a single day. All of the videos depict Hanna going through supposed manic episodes during which she delivers a range of monologues about mental health and religion, some of which include assertions that she is the “messiah.” She has been criticized for making remarks considered racist and transphobic in a few of these videos. 

Numerous Hanna supporters expressed concern and worry about her mental health.   This resulted in the police going to Hanna’s house for a wellness check when neighbors reported her screaming in the middle of the night, as well as a stranger arriving at her house who claimed to be concerned about her.

Hanna’s controversy has more to do with the responsibility platforms such as Tiktok have to ensure erratic behaviors don’t escalate and move towards something dangerous. 

Regarding her remarks that are seen as ill-informed and offensive, they should be monitored and flagged by the platform if necessary. Of course, Gabbie Hanna shouldn’t be faulted for struggling with mental health, as she has admitted to having bipolar disorder. It is easy to see how viewers could be worried about her mental state. However, despite concern from fans being understandable, a stranger does not have the right to come to Hanna’s home and make an attempt to help. 

These individuals’ actions have sparked discussions on the duties of media platforms to improve their ability to regulate the content of platform users, as well as the subject of parasocial relationships and how they can result in fans elevating creators and promoting their behavior. These are both valid discussions, especially considering the large following these creators have. 

When it comes to the massive following Tate and Hanna both have, there is a danger of fans egging creators on or just outright excusing their behavior. This is the reason platforms need guidelines to prevent creators from making content that is harmful to users. One of the reasons a creator like Andrew Tate managed to gain such a following on social media was through his misogynistic and toxic rhetoric being cloaked as self help from a “male guru.” Platforms should penalize and remove creators that spread toxic views about a certain group of people. This isn’t just about another person having “a different opinion” on a certain subject, especially when the language used by manosphere creators can and has had real world consequences which have ranged from harassment to outright violence against women.

In regards to Hanna’s behavior in her most recent videos, it should be clear that no one should be penalized for mental health reasons. At the same time, people should still be held accountable for their behavior, and this includes platforms making sure that behavior doesn’t lead to harmful acts or comments that are at best insensitive and at worst offensive. Flagging and removing videos with these types of comments prevents them from being spread to an audience that tends to enable and glorify the behaviors and comments of creators, instead of calling it out as wrong and harmful.

The main responsibility of social media should be to prioritize the safety of the viewers and creators alike and prevent harmful content from being propagated. Gabbie Hanna and Andrew Tate are just a couple examples of how social media platforms need to be more proactive in moderating their content. The influence popular creators have on their fans shouldn’t be underestimated, especially when some of them market themselves as being a “positive influence.”