TikTok bans video demanding Bogdan Syrotiuk’s freedom, branding it “hate speech”

A video posted Friday to TikTok by members of the International Youth and Students for Social Equality (IYSSE) in Scotland demanding the Zelensky regime release imprisoned Ukrainian socialist Bogdan Syrotiuk was removed by the social media company soon after it was posted.

The video was deleted from the UK Socialist Equality Party’s TikTok account on Friday afternoon, around 20 minutes after it was posted. A notice to the party’s account stated: “Video removed,” claiming, “This video violates our community guidelines.”

The notice continued: “You’ve received a warning for your first violation. The next violation will result in a strike.”

Notice from TikTok “claiming, “This video violates our community guidelines”. [Photo: TikTok]

TikTok claimed the video was being banned for encouraging “Hate speech and hateful behaviours” in breach of TikTok’s community guidelines.

The SEP immediately protested TikTok’s political censorship, rejecting its accusation that the video had breached the platform’s community guidelines. An SEP representative wrote: “This video is the very opposite of hate speech. It calls for the unity of Ukrainian and Russian workers to put an end to a war that has killed hundreds of thousands and laid waste to Ukraine.”

TikTok rejected the SEP’s appeal, upholding its decision to remove the video. Its notice the next morning stated: “It was determined that your content violates our Community Guidelines and cannot be restored.”

No further explanation was provided.

TikTok’s accusation of hate speech is outrageous. The video, which can be viewed on YouTube, condemns the illegal detention of a 25-year-old member of the Young Guard of Bolshevik Leninists (YGBL), arrested by Zelensky’s secret police for opposing the war.

Syrotiuk, alongside members of the YGBL in both Ukraine and Russia, have taken a courageous stand against a NATO-backed war, the Zelensky regime supported by ultra-nationalists and fascists and Putin’s reactionary “Special Military Operation.”

The video banned by TikTok sees IYSSE members in Scotland exposing the propaganda used by the Zelensky regime to justify its imprisonment of Bogdan on charges of “treason”, including bogus claims that the World Socialist Web Site is a “Russian propaganda and information agency.”

The Scottish youth describe these lies as “absurd,” and the YGBL’s fight as “an inspiration to socialist-minded youth around the world.”

The video explains: “The arrest of Bogdan is a warning to young people all over the world. The same contradictions of capitalism that produced two world wars and fascism in the 20th century are erupting once more.”

They call on young people to take up the fight for Syrotiuk’s freedom as part of the fight for a global antiwar movement of working people against the horrors of war, fascism and genocide produced by capitalism.”

Darren Paxton, who takes part in the video and is the Socialist Equality Party’s candidate for Inverness in the British general elections, said of the ban:

I condemn the censorship of our call for the freedom of my comrade, Bogdan Syrotiuk. This is wartime censorship and workers must oppose it to defend their own democratic rights!

Ukraine is a stark warning to workers, with martial law imposed on the population and the secret police arresting any opponent of the fratricidal war. This experience will be replicated in every country for workers under conditions of a global war.

Darren Paxton

The TikTok ban comes just days after the Zelensky regime issued an order banning access to the World Socialist Web Site across Ukraine. The order was issued by the Ukrainian State Special Communications Service (SSSCIP), a wing of the country’s military-intelligence apparatus.

As the WSWS explained: “The decision to ban the WSWS is a response to the outpouring of support within Ukraine and internationally for Bogdan Syrotiuk… There is compelling evidence that the Ukrainian government’s decision to ban the WSWS was made in consultation with the Biden administration.”

The TikTok ban is further proof that the arrest of Bogdan and the campaign to censor the WSWS is part of a concerted, worldwide offensive to silence socialist opposition to war, especially among the younger generation.

The WSWS urges all readers to sign and circulate the petition demanding Syrotiuk’s freedom (at wsws.org/freebogdan), become active in the campaign and to issue statements on social media condemning the banning of the WSWS.