Gen Z recruits in the US Army are using TikTok to complain about bad pay, ‘sh***y food’ and ‘disrespectful leadership’.
Videos made by soldiers on US bases have been causing a stir on the social media platform as the US Army continues having a tough time getting new recruits.
An influencer named Anthony Laster shared videos with over a million followers slamming Army life, he said: “No Privacy, The Pay Sucks, Sh***y Food, Disrespectful Leadership, NO SLEEP!”
In another video, he claimed he spent his whole day ‘watching TikToks while supposedly fighting the Taliban’.
“This job is really hard physically, and if you mess up, the Army doesn’t care. You have to see the personal trainer,” warned a recruit named Treull. He added how officers are on a ‘power trip’, and soldiers can’t really do anything about it. “In the military, you have to do whatever they say.”
This wave of discontent is painting a negative image of the US military for potential recruits, further fueling criticism of TikTok. Politicians have expressed concerns about the platform’s ties to China and its alleged promotion of subversive anti-U.S. propaganda, DailyMail reported.
The US Army is set to fall short of its 2023 recruitment target by 15,000 personnel, while the Navy and the Air Force also anticipate significant shortfalls.
Traditional appeals for military recruitment seem to be losing traction with Gen Z, as only nine percent of individuals aged 16-21 expressed interest in military service last year, a 13% decline from pre-pandemic levels.
While the Army focuses on a five-year plan to become a model of diversity, equality, and inclusion, it now grapples with a fitness crisis. A recent study revealed that 23 percent of soldiers were registered as obese in 2021, necessitating urgent interventions in weight loss and exercise regimens.
Female recruits on TikTok also shared their thoughts, warning about issues like weight standards, tough treatment, and unrealistic expectations.
One recruit said: “Don’t join the Army until you’re mentally prepared to be told you’re going over/underweight, treated like you’re not a good soldier if you can’t run two miles in 18 mins or less – oh and you can’t get injured either cause then it’s your fault.”
A defence official told DailyMail: “DOD Components are required to review and approve non-official mobile applications for use on government-issued devices.
“The DoD never authorized the use of TikTok, and several organizations have already banned its download onto its mobile devices. Users are required to sign a user agreement when the device is issued.
“The agreement informs them of the proper device use requirements and their responsibilities for the appropriate use and download of unmanaged applications. Additionally, all DoD personnel are required to take the Annual Cyber Awareness Challenge which has modules specific to mobile devices, social media, and geolocation capabilities.
“DoD Mobile Application policy requires DOD Components to review and prohibit the use of applications that pose potential risk. DoD is currently updating its mobile application security policy to establish a process for prohibiting the installation of any application that DoD believes is inappropriate to be downloaded to a government device as well.
“In accordance with Division R, Section 102 of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2023, U.S. Cyber Command acting through Joint Force Headquarters-Department of Defense Information Network, directed all combatant commands, military services, defense agencies, and DoD field activities to remove TikTok from all government-funded equipment and prohibit users from downloading or accessing the application on government-funded equipment.”