The videos glorify the actions of the controversial military company, the report says. Videos also include footage of the execution of Yevgeny Nuzhin, a former Russian mercenary. One of the videos of the execution had been viewed more than 900,000 times before it could be removed. In total, there are 160 videos on the platform that “allude to, display or glorify violence” by the Wagner Group, writes the American NewsGuard. In fourteen of the videos, the execution of the Russian mercenary is (partially) shown.
The Wagner Group had recruited Nuzhin to fight in Ukraine. When he was captured there by Ukrainian troops, he defected and left the Wagner Group. He ended up in Russian hands in a prisoner exchange, after which gruesome videos of his execution soon circulated.
The fact that videos from a highly controversial group are viewed so well on TikTok raises new questions about the company’s business model. Because how is it possible that the videos glorifying violence remain online for so long? According to the researchers, TikTok would even facilitate the search for this kind of gruesome images by providing suggestions for extreme search terms. The company says it will take action against videos that violate the company’s guidelines.
The Wagner Group is very active in Africa, but has been increasingly involved in the conflict in that country since the start of the Ukraine war in 2014. The military company also recruits men from Africa for the conflict in Ukraine.