Is the existence of pandas really being questioned on TikTok?

A series of articles in the press evoke a panda-related “conspiracy” theory. TikTok will become the main place for debate. But the latter is, at best, anecdotal.

Since the beginning of June, several articles about the alleged conspiracy theory from TikTok have appeared on the Internet. According to them, the Chinese social network will pick up the thesis that pandas do not exist. The keyword “#pandasnotreal” (“pandas are not real” in French) will also garner over 6.2 million views.

Thus, several regional and national media, French or Belgian, are causing such a debate on TikTok around mammals. They all quote @that_pearl_witch, a content creator on the platform. In the post, she responds to one of her followers who asks her for details about the “panda case.”

Second degree

An influencer with 92,600 followers – quite a few for TikTok – explains that pandas are not real and that they are “the bug of evolution”. According to her, their difficult reproduction will be proof that the species cannot survive. All the while claiming that the panda cubs will only be animatronics and the disguised humans will behave like the adults.

This post, with only 4,500 views, is dated January 14th and links to a previous video from January 11th. In this video, a woman humorously builds on the TikTok trend of quoting the craziest conspiracy theories with the iconic #conspirancytheory hashtag, which has racked up over three billion views. Among them is the assertion that “pandas are not real”, about which one of his subscribers asks him for clarification.

So she answers in the second sequence, three days later, mentioning the “question” about pandas, but with a more serious tone and the comments mentioned above.

Anecdotal theme

How could a video posted in January get newspapers to publish articles at the end of June? First of all, a quick check of the Chinese social network reveals that #pandasnotreal is not a trending keyword.

Therefore, it is impossible to attribute to him the 6.2 million hits referred to by the press sites. In addition, the upcoming #pandasarentreal trend has only 1.6 million views.

It’s hard to find recent posts on TikTok that mention conspiracy theories. Away from the supposed debate about the existence of pandas, there were only a handful of videos in June addressing the topic. The most important of these is to stay up to date with @fluentlyforward (350,000 followers) and get two million views.

This is actually a transcript of the arguments used by the defenders of this conspiracy theory, without the participation of a woman.

humorous forum

In fact, these clouded panda theories are far from new. Back in 2014, a user on a Reddit forum claimed that “pandas were just an elaborate hoax” by posting a photo of two set up in a playground. rolling stone. Since then, questions about pandas have become a running joke on the web.

As with any conspiracy theory, the arguments are repeated. The most cited is their extremely difficult reproduction. Females are only fertile within 48 hours from February 15th to March 30th. Express. A specificity that turns every birth into an event, like at the Beauval Zoo in 2021.

In a joking tone, the question also regularly pops up: how do pandas manage to survive? This question is often asked on Reddit by members of the Pandasarefake forum (pandas are wrong). Created in 2019, it contains images and videos of these animals in incredible situations and during ridiculous falls. A place where subscribers are happy that the view is really real.

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