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These Are the Biggest Trolls on TikTok

by 9999biz.com
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“My husband and I have removed the bottoms of all our shoes,” Christi Fritz says in a voiceover of their most viral TikTok video, with 56 million views. The video shows her husband, Seth Fritz, using a small saw tool, to cut through the rubber on a sneaker, while Christi extols the virtues of going barefoot.

“We decided to start walking barefoot,” Christi explains. (“Grounding” or “earthing” is a Gwenyth Paltrow-endorsed practice meant to commune with nature by walking barefoot on the soil. There are, indeed, “grounding” influencers.)

But the couple had encountered a problem. In an earlier video, Christi was kicked out of a Sephora for lacking shoes. “Since some businesses don’t want us being completely barefoot, if we cut off the bottoms of our shoes, we can blend in with everyone else.”

The couple puts on their sole-less sneakers — Christi mentions that their entire shoe collection is worth $20,000 — and walks back confidently into a Sephora.

The comments went wild. “Did you guys also remove the part of your brain that says not to do this?” wrote one person.

“so..why? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯” wrote the official account for Wendy’s UK.

The Fritzes were, in fact, joking. The hugely viral video was part of a long set of deftly executed satire they’ve been doing on TikTok.

“I would consider it comedy. I guess other people like to see it as satire,” Christi told Business Insider.

“These videos kept getting more ridiculous. But no matter how ridiculous they were, people believed it, and they still got mad,” Seth said. “So, it’s like, we could do anything.”

I first came across the Fritzes in a video where Christi talks about how they had set themselves a $20,000 budget for holiday gifts for their young children.

At first watch, I seethed. How dare they?! The hair on the back of my neck stood up. My blood boiled. I watched again — wait, is this a joke? I wasn’t sure. I scrolled through their page, looking for clues.

Christi, 27, is blonde and beautiful, her outfits are trendy in that Gen Z way, and her children are adorable. Seth, 24, plays the role of the nearly silent vlog husband.

Many of the videos on their page are of Christi doing “Get ready with me” videos or playing with the kids.

Everything aesthetically about the Fritzes suggests they are genuine social media personalities — except the outlandish stuff.

I finally became convinced that they were pulling a prank only when I watched their video about buying their 4- and 1-year-olds an iPhone to save until they turned 16.

When a friend, someone who is usually extremely savvy about being able to sniff out a troll, sent me the shoe-removal video, I realized the Fritzes were operating on a whole new level.

Their satire is so delicious because it skewers the kind of mindless consumption that permeates social media: influencers flaunting their wealth and boring tastes — everyone with the same overpriced Stanley cup, Lululemon sweatshirt, and Dior lip oil.

Seth and Christi met in high school but didn’t start dating until after they graduated. (Christi was a few grades ahead of Seth, and he held a secret crush on her.) Seth did a stint in the military, and now they live in the suburbs of Cleveland with their two young children.

They’ve told me they’ve been making their living from social media for the last three years, mainly through TikTok, which pays creators in various ways.

Initially, Christi would post TikToks of herself dancing or other anodyne content. She built up a small following. But then they stumbled into something more effective: outrage.

“We’ve been doing TikTok for so long; we’ve studied the algorithm and just know what to say, when to say it, and how people will react,” Christi says. “We put a lot of thought into it — where we’ll go, what would do well.”

“People think we’re rage-baiting for attention. But really, we’re rage-baiting because we’re grinding to get money,” Christi explains.

In a follow-up to their viral barefoot video, the Fritzes stroll down the streets of downtown Cleveland barefoot and into the public library.

In one horrifying shot, Seth uses his toes to enter his ATM password. “It’s more like, we’ve always kind of been grinders,” Seth said.

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