According to a recent study, TikTok is hosting dozens of films that celebrate violence by the Wagner Group of Russian mercenaries, and they have received over a billion views.
Wagner has dispatched several mercenaries into Ukraine.
Some of the recordings, according to US-based NewsGuard, which focuses on online misinformation, seem to depict the execution of a former Russian mercenary.
According to TikTok, any content that violates its regulations will be dealt with.
According to NewsGuard, the Yevgeny Prigozhin-founded mercenary organisation has posted 160 movies on the short-video site that “allude to, show, or praise acts of violence.”
“Fourteen of those videos showed full or partial footage of the apparent killing of former Russian mercenary Yevgeny Nuzhin which saw high engagement within days of being uploaded last month, it said.
Analysts said one video of the murder was viewed at least 900,000 times before it was taken down. TikTok is owned by China-based firm ByteDance.
Nuzhin had been serving a jail term for murder but described how he had been recruited by Wagner and was then captured by the Ukrainian military. He told Ukrainian journalists he had switched sides voluntarily and denounced the mercenary group.
It is thought he was then part of a prisoner exchange and within days a gruesome video involving a sledgehammer was posted on a Wagner-linked channel on the Telegram messaging app.
NewsGuard found that TikTok’s algorithm appeared to push users towards violent Wagner Group content.
NewsGuard also found that videos could be found on TikTok showing another Wagner murder involving an army deserter in Syria in 2017 and that they had reached millions of users.
The online analysis group said it had also identified other music videos on the platform that advocated violence against Ukrainians, including calls to kill Ukrainians claiming they were “Nazis”
Responding to the report, a TikTok spokesperson said there was “no place for hateful or violent content on our platform”. Many of the videos identified by NewsGuard were no longer available on the platform by Thursday.
“Our Community Guidelines clearly outline that we do not allow people to use our platform to threaten or incite violence, or share attacks or slurs based on people’s nationality or other protected characteristics. We will take action on content found to violate these policies,” TikTok said
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