TikTok displays almost exclusively propaganda videos for Russian users in support of the war in Ukraine. The production of such content, despite the restrictions of the social network, is carried out by “tiktok houses” in Russia and the Donbass. This was reported by The Bell. According to the publication, while the whole world sees on the social network the consequences of the actions of the Russian military in Ukraine, TikTok shows Russians only videos with the slogans “We don’t abandon our people” or videos about the victorious overcoming of economic difficulties.
According to the publication, the Russians use a VPN to bypass the ban on publishing content on TikTok, which has been in effect since March. At the same time, the algorithms still filter videos by topic and do not allow them to view anti-war content. Russians can't even see videos with political tags uploaded after March even through a VPN.
This loophole was exploited by the Russian authorities to promote “patriotic” content on TikTok. Propaganda videos are recorded by bloggers in the Tiktok home of the One Media agency, owned by 23-year-old blogger Ivan Morozov from Chelyabinsk. The Tiktok House itself is supposedly located in the Moscow region. Previously, the agency fulfilled the orders of Russia Today and the ANO "Russia - the Land of Opportunities", founded by the Administration of the Presidential Administration in 2018. At the end of June, the organization launched support programs for teenagers, including those from the "DNR" and "LNR", who support "patriotic sentiments". Among them are increased scholarships at universities and prizes for winners of the "platform" competitions.
As the Sibirmedia and Caution News Telegram channels also reported, in June, vacancies for tiktokers from a certain Faces agency appeared on HeadHunter. They were offered to work in a tiktok house in the Donbass. At the same time, the agency promised to ensure the safety of bloggers. As journalists found out, the head of the agency, Vladislav Ryzhykh, was a subscriber on social networks of the recently created public “Dom” along with producer Elena Garasyuk. She has already created a tiktok home for CSBS, which for the second year in a row has won the competition of the Internet Development Institute (IDI), which receives state funding to create “youth-patriotic content on the Internet.” In 2020, the IRI received a subsidy of 9 billion rubles from Rosmolodezh, and in 2021 it received 7 billion rubles.
In addition, the producer Ilya Ivlev, who collaborates with the production center Insight People, is engaged in “implementation of patriotic projects that are gaining millions of views”. The company owns professional recording studios and photography facilities in Moscow on Rochdelskaya Street. Insight People attracts bloggers to the Russian video hosting RuTube, a platform that IRI also participates in promoting.
In addition to bloggers propagandists, TikTok also has at least 100 thousand bots with several videos, one of which is gaining at least 1 million views. After that, they begin to work in commenting mode, raising the rating of bloggers whose personality can be identified.
According to The Bell, in June, more than 100,000 videos with popular hashtags appeared on the social network. Since the beginning of the war, the tag #zours has been encountered 220 million times, #zamir - more than 245 million times, #forRussia - 185 million times. In this case, most often under the videos all the listed hashtags are used at the same time.
The video broadcasts such ideas as “I am not ashamed that I am Russian”, “God is with the Russians”, “Ukraine is subject to the USA”, “Ukrainians welcome Russian soldiers as liberators”. Each link has over 1 million views.