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Cheat Detectives: The Loyalty Test

Duration: 1 x 30'

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This poignant film investigates the TikTok influencers who are exposing cheaters online and the far-reaching consequences so-called ‘loyalty tests’ have for those involved.

Have you ever suspected your partner of cheating? What lengths would you go to test their loyalty? Do you agree with those who choose to ‘loyalty test’ their partners?

Radio Presenter Daisy Maskell first became interested in the subject through hearing heartbreaking stories from her friends and listeners. The loyalty tests she came across on TikTok appeared to offer a solution. Influencers offer a service to their followers where they will message unsuspecting partners to see whether they are willing to cheat. The results are recorded and then revealed online. There is an enormous and growing appetite for this trend: the hashtag #Loyaltytest has received over one billion views on TikTok.

Daisy is unsure whether she agrees with the practice and so to find out, she meets Liv Shelby, a TikToker who has gained followers through providing loyalty tests to her followers. Liv receives 1000s of messages, mostly from young women, wanting to test their partners.

There is, however, a darker side to this phenomenon. Beth Ashley, an investigative journalist, points out how seemingly innocent videos which purport to ‘expose cheaters’ can have devastating consequences and instead expose to public shaming.

In extreme cases, loyalty testing can be classed as ‘tech abuse’, a form of domestic abuse and coercive control. To explore how this can manifest, Daisy meets Sarah, a survivor of tech abuse, whose boyfriend repeatedly broke into her phone without her knowledge. Whilst videos online show you how to hack into your partner’s phone, Sarah reveals how her experience has left her unable to meet new partners.

To protect the anonymity of those sharing their stories, Daisy will meet them in the ‘metaverse’. Here they will be turned into ‘metahumans’, virtual avatars which track facial expressions and emotional responses to form hyper-realistic versions of that look and sound nothing alike. In this virtual metaverse, Daisy's will explore the world of exposing cheaters, the views and furore it generates, and the costs to those involved.

For Channel 4

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