Encore: Did TikTok Find Gabby Petito, or Exploit Her?

After an aspiring Instagram influencer mysteriously disappeared, she became the TikTok true crime community’s newest obsession.


Episode Notes

While authorities searched for missing 22-year-old Gabby Petito, she was everywhere to be found on TikTok, Reddit, and Instagram. Content creators, some well-intentioned and others simply chasing clout and clicks, turned the story of Gabby’s apparent death into the latest in true crime drama. On today’s show, Madison and Rachelle talk about the murkiness of the true crime internet and the ethics of using tragedy for clicks. They’re joined later in the show by Haley Toumaian, a TikTok creator and novice true crime podcast host who says the rapid pace of the news genre means sometimes getting things wrong in front of an audience of millions and willfully sharing misinformation.*

Podcast production by Daniel Schroeder and Derek John.

This episode originally aired on September 22, 2021.


About the Show

Join Rachelle Hampton twice a week as we gaze deep into the online abyss—and tell you what’s gazing back.

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  • Rachelle Hampton is a culture writer and reporter at Slate and co-host of ICYMI. Her work has appeared in the New Republic, Pacific Standard, Smithsonian Magazine, and In These Times. She still hasn't recovered from Tumblr’s demise.

  • Madison Malone Kircher is a senior writer at Slate and co-host of ICYMI. She was previously a staff writer at New York magazine, where she covered internet culture and edited New York’s Approval Matrix. Her work has appeared in Vogue, Vulture, and the Cut. Madison lives in Brooklyn, where she regularly drops her phone on her face watching TikToks in bed.