If you are following the news of the Russian invasion of Ukraine online, you know that the media part of the battle is unprecedented with this war.
As Russian troops attempt to advance towards Kyiv and other major Ukrainian cities, the internet is flooding with videos, photos, and analyses, all trying to weigh on the biggest military conflict in Europe since WWII.
While Russian content has been limited on many social media networks, the Chinese-developed TikTok app has become the platform preferred by pro-Russia commentators who find it a useful tool to defend their side of the battle.
Even though Russia-based live streamings on TikTok are facing temporary suspension following the most recent Russian internet regulation law meant "to fight fake news," TikTok videos are still amongst the most exchanged ones by internet users.
Russian "influencers" on TikTok defend the invasion of Ukraine by giving the same exact propagandist speech as each other pic.twitter.com/dJo3lIdhT5— Fifty Shades of Whey (@davenewworld_2) March 4, 2022
However, Reddit users have noticed that a number different of Russian TikTok influencers have been repeating the very same message, suggesting that their videos are part of an organized media campaign meant to whitewash the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
@yarra_m FOLLOW THE LINK IN MY BIO TO SUPPORT UKRAINE #russianpropaganda #stoprussianoccupation ♬ original sound - Yara in Stockholm
According to a Stockholm-based Russian TikTok user, the Russian government is "bribing" popular internet influencers to help its government efforts rally up support for its military invasion of Ukraine, by sending them the same messages they repeat on the app.
Yara also made a TikTok video in which she offered an English translation of what has been described as the "Russian propagandists message," which defends the military offensive as an operation meant to "protect the Russian people living in the Donbas separatist region."