Anti-LGBT+ social media influencer Libs of TikTok attended the 6 January Capitol insurrection, according to deleted tweets.
Libs of TikTok, which began on TikTok but later moved to Twitter, posts content from liberal social media users, inviting ridicule and outrage from right-wing conservatives, often directed at LGBT+ folk and teachers.
The account has soared in popularity, garnering almost 700,000 Twitter followers since 2020, and although known to be a woman, Libs of TikTok has managed to remain anonymous, until now.
On Saturday, 16 April, software developer Travis Brown revealed the account’s previous Twitter handles, information he said was “OSINT [open source intelligence] 101-level stuff”
He tweeted: “Pro-tip: If you want to run a viral moral panic account for the worst people on earth and stay anonymous, maybe start from scratch instead of doing whatever the f**k this is.
“The first screen name used by the Libs of TikTok account seems to have been @shaya69830552, then @shaya_ray (also used by apparently unrelated accounts both before and after), then @chayaraichik.”
After finding the account’s previous Twitter handles, Brown was also able to unearth deleted tweets which show that the account holder reported attending the 6 January Capitol insurrection.
The tweets show that the account posted video footage of the riots, reported rubber bullets and tear gas being used by law enforcement, and wrote: “I am taking off work to come support Trump. Every single supporter matters.”
It has been reported that a Brooklyn-based real estate agent named Chaya Raichik is behind the Libs of TikTok account based on the accounts former Twitter handed, and the blank libsoftiktok.us domain name is also registered to someone named Chaya Raichik.
Washington Post columnist Taylor Lorenz published an exposé on Tuesday (19 April), which also named Raichik as the person behind the account.
Throughout the last two years, Libs of TikTok has used its platform to target activists and teachers that promote LGBT+ rights and LGBT-inclusive education.
The account has described teaching children about the existence of trans people as “literal grooming”, and said that parents embracing their trans children is “child abuse”.
The account’s influence has reached such a level, that experts have even said it is influencing legislation.
Ari Drennen of US media watchdog Media Matters told the Daily Beast: “Libs of TikTok is basically acting as a wire service for the broader right-wing media ecosystem.
“It’s been shaping public policy in a real way, and affecting teachers’ ability to feel safe in their classrooms.”