Inside the rise of Noah Glenn Carter, the face of TikTok controversy who gained millions of followers by exposing online drama
Noah Glenn Carter is known for explaining online drama and internet news on TikTok.
Carter experimented with several different formats before finding his niche on the app.
Here's how he went from posting lip-sync videos to gaining millions of followers with his explainers.
Noah Glenn Carter is one of the most recognizable faces on TikTok.
With nothing but a set of wired earphones in hand, Noah Glenn Carter has taken on the untameable giant that is "TikTok drama" to become one of the biggest controversy-explainer accounts on the app.
As 26-year-old Carter, who is based in Alabama, speaks into the microphone on the earphones in his signature videos, he explains the biggest internet news of the day, captivating his followers by breaking down various online controversies involving influencers or users caught up in online cancelation.
His posts are reminiscent of the formerly notorious "tea channels" on YouTube, which made a name for themselves uncovering and deciphering convoluted online feuds so that their followers don't have to do the research themselves.
But now, as YouTube drama and revenue have declined over the years, the majority of viral controversy has begun to spring forth from TikTok, with its billions of users producing thousands of viral moments per day that prove impossible for anyone to keep track of — and that's where Carter steps in.
Carter's format is simple but effective.
@noahglenncarter Trying the miniature avatar filter #foryou #filter #avatar ♬ It's A Wrap - Sped Up - Mariah Carey
Carter, who posts up to 10 videos per day, relentlessly recaps feuds and debates on the app, explaining what happened and what different people are saying about it all in under 60 seconds.
His set-up is practically the same in every post, showing his face and shoulders, with his earphones propped up in his hand, as he speaks in front of a green screen that typically displays the video or person he is talking about behind him.
Simple but successful, the repetitive format has earned him 6.9 million followers on TikTok, as users look to him to help them stay up to date on the latest drama that the app has to offer.
But Carter's thousands of videos have not always looked this way. In fact, it took him years to find his niche, as he experimented with dozens of formats in a seeming attempt to go viral and break through into fame on the app.
Here's how he eventually made it to the big leagues.
Carter started his online career posting dance and lip-sync videos.
Before Carter found his feet in the world of online drama, he posted short dance and lip-sync videos on the app Musical.ly.
He started making Musical.ly videos in January 2016, before it was acquired by ByteDance and merged with TikTok in 2018, he said in a video. The earliest videos that are currently available to view on his account were posted in 2018.
In a December 2022 TikTok, Carter said that he hates looking back at his older content, which is significantly different from what he currently posts.
"I just want to apologize to anyone who has seen them. Yes, they are that bad and I don't recommend watching them," he said.
From there, he tried his hand at a whole load of genres on TikTok.
@noahglenncarter I feel like I’m the only one who gets this 😂 #foryou #christian ♬ original sound - NoahGlennCarter
From 2019, Carter continued to post dance videos, but also branched out to other formats that were popular on TikTok at the time, such as storytimes — where creators speak directly to the camera about an event or experience that happened to them — and comedic sketch-style roleplaying videos.
Many of his sketches had religious themes, where he played various Biblical characters and re-enacted Christian stories.
The TikToker started making videos about pop culture news but he initially didn't speak in them.
@noahglenncarter He just got freed and he’s stirring up some drama 👀 #6ix9ine #justinbieber #arianagrande ♬ GOOBA - 6ix9ine
In TikTok's earlier days, it was rare for creators to speak on the app, which was dominated by dance and lip-sync videos.
So it's easy to see why when Carter pivoted to making videos about the latest developments in celebrity and entertainment news in mid-2020, he did not speak in his posts. Instead, he explained the story using on-screen subtitles, which he pointed to, as he stood in front of a greenscreen that showed a slideshow of images to illustrate the events.
The format began to generate a lot of discussion in Carter's comments section, as users weighed in with their thoughts on the news he was sharing. At the time, the TikToker was still experimenting with a number of different formats, such as sketch-style videos, and had accumulated 1.3 million TikTok followers by September 2020, according to analytics tracker SocialBlade.
Carter posted a series about influencer earnings, which eventually morphed into videos about influencer drama.
@noahglenncarter Addison is a rich bleep 😳 #foryou #addisonre ♬ Ashes - Stellar
After a few months, Carter began to speak more often in his posts, particularly in a series speculating about how much the biggest creators on TikTok at the time were making from their posts.
The series was produced off the back of TikTok announcing it would be paying its biggest stars through a creator fund, and it appeared to generate a lot of interest, as commenters turned to him for answers about how people were making money from the app.
From there, he began to post more videos about TikTok celebrities like Addison Rae and Charli D'Amelio, including updates about who was trending and who was getting backlash on the platform.
Eventually, Carter started to include updates about regular users who had gone viral and sparked backlash on the app as well, often being one of the first creators to spot big controversies as they happened, breaking them down into short, 30-second explainers for his audience.
Carter's videos about online controversies started to become immensely popular.
@noahglenncarter Charli Damelio’s dad Marc is trying to save tik tok #foryou #charlidamelio #tiktokban #tiktok ♬ Christmas Kids - Roar
Carter's following has grown at an increasing rate over the past few years, according to SocialBlade, which shows that he gained 1.8 million followers over the course of 2021, and a further 2.9 million followers in 2022.
Some of his most popular videos involve him breaking down controversial debates on TikTok, where he explains the different viewpoints people have been expressing toward a viral video or topic.
In one clip from July 2022, Carter reshared an explosively viral video of a woman dancing very closely next to a man at a club, which Carter said commenters were arguing about, as some people thought her behavior was inappropriate, while others were "making jokes" about it. He received 11.6 million views for explaining the two sides of the argument, as his own viewers carried on the debate in his comments section.
Carter has largely maintained a wholesome image on the internet, despite some minor controversies.
@noahglenncarter People Re upset with the way she dressed to go to Dave and Busters #foryou #birthday #daveandbusters ♬ original sound - toohot4scotty
Unlike traditional "tea channels" and drama commentators that took off on YouTube and often got into feuds with big celebrities and influencers for their coverage, or sometimes faced accusations of sensationalizing the events they discussed in their posts, Carter's videos tend to be distinctly objective in style.
He is often heard using phrases like "people are mad at this TikToker," or "What do y'all think of this?" shifting away from sharing his own opinions or passing judgment on the individuals he commentates on.
Like most big creators on TikTok, Carter has run into some minor controversies of his own. In September 2022, he faced backlash from fans of Senegalese-Italian creator Khaby Lame for saying he regretted starting a campaign to help the TikTok star overtake Charli D'amelio as the most-followed creator on the app, with his reasoning being that he felt Lame had not stepped his content up since he overtook D'amelio in June.
More recently, in March, Carter said he thought that one of TikTok's most prominent rising stars, Keith Lee, had blocked him on the app, which he said he felt "sad" about because he was a fan of Lee and had never made a video that mentioned him.
While some users, who said they were fans of Lee, criticized Carter's account for being too heavily focused on drama, the TikToker's videos tend to get a largely positive reaction on a day-to-day basis, and he often has friendly conversations with his followers in his comments section.
Noah Glenn Carter did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.
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