VICE has definitely changed a bit over the past few years, but they are still putting out some cool content every now and then. I'm a sucker for some good Mafia content, so I qualify this as very good content.
This is the TikTok that set it off. The setting is a maximum-security prison in Italy.
But what made this video stand out is that it was shot inside a prison, later identified by penitentiary police as the high-security wing of Avellino prison, 50 kilometres east of Naples.
Avellino houses many criminals affiliated with the Camorra, the mafia chapter of the Campania region and its capital, Naples. Using a phone smuggled into their cell, the unidentified inmate’s TikTok went viral and was taken down, although it’s still on YouTube. It’s one of many instances of young Camorristi using TikTok to broadcast the mafia lifestyle and make themselves known to the higher-ups in the mafia world – a quasi audition for positions of power and leadership.
Not a bad prison if you ask me. Reminds me of the infamous Goodfellas scene.
For a few months, VICE Italy kept an eye on the hashtags, songs and users related to a spike in these posts. We found that young mafiosi have been increasingly using TikTok over Facebook, and older clan members have followed suit.
Interesting to see the Mafia evolve. When I think of John Gotti, I remind myself of his failure to keep his life private. That's why he couldn't stay on top for long, like a Frank Castellano. Now, the Mafia in Italy is making themselves known on TikTok. Using it as a recruiting ground:
Marcello Ravveduto, professor of Digital Public History at the University of Salerno, said the mafia’s use of TikTok to spread their message makes sense. “We often forget criminal organisations and social media have a key thing in common: a network,” he said. And as the Camorra’s visibility on TikTok grows, so does its recruiting pool.
If you think of the Mafia as a business, TikTok is one of the best things to ever happen to them. TikTok convinces these young kids to do insane things. You know how hard it is to sell these kids on the Mafia? Not hard at all. Just make it seem like if you are in the Mafia you're a hypebeast.