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TikTok videos which ‘glorify’ Russian mercenary violence in Ukraine ‘viewed a billion times’, reports says

According to misinformation monitors, TikTok videos which “glorify” violence by Russian mercenaries have been viewed more that a billion times on social media.

One clip appears to show Yevgeny nuzhin’s October execution. He was a former Russian mercenary working with the Wagner Group and had previously switched sides.

Wagner, a private military company, is suspected to have links to the Kremlin. It is believed that Wagner is fighting alongside Russian troops in Ukraine.

NewsGuard analysts claim that 160 TikTok videos “allude to, display, or glorify acts violence perpetrated by the Wagner Group”, including 14 videos that show the execution Nuzhin, the ex-Russian mercenary.


They claimed that content promoted by the Wagner Group on TikTok had been viewed more then a billion times.

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TikTok is operated and owned by ByteDance. This Chinese internet conglomerate is partially owned by China’s government.

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NewsGuard identified over 500 music videos that, although not depicting violence, encourage violence against Ukrainians.

They claim that the clips, which are used as propaganda and recruitment tools by the Wagner Group, appear to be in violation of TikTok’s guidelines. These guidelines ban content that “praises or promotes, glorifies or supports violence acts” as well as videos that “incite violent action against, or otherwise dehumanize an person or group”.

A month after Russia invaded Ukraine the Ministry of Defence stated that Russia was expected to deploy more than 1,000 mercenaries to conduct combat operations.

Image Wagner may have links to President Vladimir Putin

Sir Jeremy Fleming (head of GCHQ) stated that they were most likely to be used as “cannon fodder” in an effort to limit Russian military losses.

British military intelligence claimed that Wagner was involved in the capture of Ukraine’s second largest power plant located in Donetsk.

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Yevgeny Prizhin, a businessman who has close connections to Vladimir Putin is thought to have funded the group. He is also believed to have run Russia’s “troll farms”, the Internet Research Agency.

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Mr. Prigozhin was among the many oligarchs sanctioned in West to respond to Russia’s invasion Ukraine. However, he has always denied any connection to Wagner.

According to the European Union, Wagner was founded in Russia by Dmitry Utkin. A former Russian soldier who reportedly had Nazi tattoos on his body was said to be named Wagner after Richard Wagner.

NewsGuard stated that TiKTok did not contest NewsGuard’s findings when it sought comment from it about the content.

TikTok spokesperson stated that there is no place on the platform for hateful or violent content.

“Our Community Guidelines clearly state that we don’t allow anyone to threaten or incite violence or to share attacks or slurs about people’s nationalities or other protected characteristics.

“We will take appropriate action if we find content that violates these policies.”

Sky News spoke with a group made up of young Russian men. They claimed that they were recruited by Wagner, and flown in Russian military planes to aid troops in Syria loyal to Bashar al-Assad.


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