Not just with viral AI knockoff content like Wes Anderson’s Star Wars, but with first-person narratives designed to be as attention-grabbing as possible: “I stuck my wee wee inside of an electrical socket,” “my friend executed me by putting a firecracker up my asshole,” or “I lost my virginity to a horse.”
These TikToks all follow a similar style, starring a semi-animated AI character speaking directly to the viewer. Running between 60 and 90 seconds, they prioritize shock value: sex, violence, outlandish behavior, and taboo subjects. They often end in a gruesome death.
They’re also ferociously popular, racking up millions of views on the app.
@imaginedtales Joseph Dome gaped the Thanksgiving Turkey🦃#imaginedtales #ai #aistory #viral ♬ original sound – Imagined Tales
Over the past two months, a handful of accounts have cornered the market on AI stories, with TikTokers like @rememberedtales, @aistoryhub, and @eternalstories posting a flood of AI-generated fiction about people having sex with Christmas turkeys, being raped by dolphins (bestiality is a popular theme), selling human flesh at a butcher’s shop, or microwaving their babies (one of the biggest viral hits of the genre.)
@aistoryhub Shawntaytay dies from twerking | #shawntaytay #twerkin #aistory #ai ♬ Sad piano ballad (BGM / sad)(936782)
The darker side of this trend involves true crime TikToks where AI-animated children describe their own grisly murders. But even among the more obviously fake and ridiculous AI stories, there are some troubling themes.
It’s strange to see the more explicitly zany content (“I came into a public pool and now I’m forced to pay child support for 17 women.”) posted alongside ripped-from-the-headlines stories (AI impersonations of the Titanic submersible victims), and TikToks narrated by AI recreations of real people like Rosa Parks—all posted in the same style by the same accounts.
Also, many of these stories revolve around sexual violence and racist stereotypes, like a TikTok about a Black stripper named Shawntaytay who is murdered by her boyfriend for twerking too much. Another features an Asian character explaining how he eats dogs adopted from the local shelter. The same account posted an AI story where a young Black boy describes being lynched.
Likely generated by plugging story prompts into a text generator like ChatGPT, these narratives often feature rather clunky phrasing. “I was placed in a microwave and subjected to intense heat by my own mother,” begins one example with over 13 million views, narrated in an AI-generated baby voice.
But these TikToks don’t need to be well-written to get views. In fact, it’s easy to see why they’re so popular.
In the TikTok attention economy, it’s vital to have an exciting hook within the first few seconds of a video. AI TikToks about animal rape and weird murders function exactly the same way as trashy tabloid headlines and intentionally bizarre clickbait ads. They grab your attention and don’t outstay their welcome.