December 5, 2023


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TikTok videos which ‘glorify’ Russian mercenary violence in Ukraine ‘viewed a billion times’, reports says | Science & Tech News

Visitors wearing military camouflage stand at the entrance of the 'PMC Wagner Centre', which is associated with businessman and founder of the Wagner private military group Yevgeny Prigozhin, during the official opening of the office block during National Unity Day, in St. Petersburg, Russia, Friday, Nov. 4, 2022. (AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky)

TikTok videos that “glorify” the violence of Russian mercenaries in Ukraine have been viewed much more than a billion situations on the social media app, misinformation displays have stated.

One particular of the clips seems to show the Oct execution of Yevgeny Nuzhin, a former Russian mercenary with the Wagner Team who had switched sides.

Wagner is a non-public navy corporation with suspected links to the Kremlin and is comprehended to be fighting along with Russian troops in Ukraine.

NewsGuard analysts say they identified 160 movies on TikTok that “allude to, clearly show, or glorify acts of violence carried out by the Wagner Team, such as 14 that seem to exhibit the execution of Nuzhin, the previous Russian mercenary”.

They stated written content promoting the Wagner Group on TikTok has been viewed much more than a billion moments.

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TikTok is owned and operated by ByteDance, a Chinese world-wide-web conglomerate partly owned by the Chinese govt.

NewsGuard also identified more than 500 new music video clips that, even though not depicting violent functions, advocate violence against Ukrainians, like phone calls to kill Ukrainians due to the fact they are “Nazis”.

And they say the clips – which serve as propaganda and recruitment resources for the Wagner Group – look to violate TikTok’s guidelines, which ban information that “praises, encourages, glorifies, or supports violent acts,” as well as movies that “incite violence in opposition to, or otherwise dehumanize an person or a group”.

About a thirty day period into Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the Ministry of Defence mentioned Russia was expected to deploy a lot more than a thousand mercenaries, including senior leaders of Wagner to undertake combat operations.

Vladimir Putin attends the Young Scientists Congress in Sochi
Wagner is believed to have inbound links to the Kremlin and President Vladimir Putin

Sir Jeremy Fleming, the head of GCHQ, stated they were being likely to be utilised as “cannon fodder” to consider to limit Russian military services losses.

In August, British military intelligence claimed Wagner performed a function in the seize of Ukraine’s 2nd-greatest electric power plant in the jap area of Donetsk.

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The team is considered to be funded by Yevgeny Prigozhin, a businessman with near backlinks to Vladimir Putin who is also alleged to operate Russia’s “troll farm”, the Web Investigate Agency.

Hitler’s favorite composer

Mr Prigozhin was a single of the quite a few oligarchs sanctioned by the West in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, even though he has usually denied any connection with Wagner.

The European Union says Wagner was started by Dmitry Utkin – a previous Russian soldier reportedly adorned with Nazi tattoos – and is explained to have been named after Richard Wagner, Hitler’s favorite composer.

NewsGuard explained when it asked TiKTok for remark about the content material, it “did not obstacle NewsGuard’s conclusions”.

A TikTok spokesperson mentioned: “There is no area for hateful or violent information on our platform.

“Our Local community Rules plainly outline that we do not allow for folks to use our platform to threaten or incite violence, or share assaults or slurs primarily based on people’s nationality or other shielded traits.

“We will get motion on content material identified to violate these insurance policies.”

Sky Information formerly spoke to a group of younger Russian gentlemen who claimed they were recruited by Wagner and flown on Russian navy planes to aid troops loyal to Bashar al Assad in Syria.