A number of leading UK far-right figures have joined a Russian social media platform after being banned from TikTok.
Tommy Robinson and Britain First, the latter led by Paul Golding, have signed up to Russian platform VK, after Scram News revealed they had first joined and then had been banned from TikTok, a Chinese company.
In an email sent to party supporters, Britain First said:
“Britain First has been censored on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and TikTok.
“It’s time to find a stable free speech social media home for all of our supporters around the world.
“The social network called “VK” is exactly the same as Facebook and is run by free speech fanatics who refuse to censor anyone.”
The far-right has struggled to sustain its presence on social media in recent years, having been banned from mainstream platforms like Facebook and Twitter for violating hate speech policies.
While far-right figures have built their own niche platforms using blockchain technology, these have little reach. Now, after a failed attempt to join Chinese monolith TikTok, the hate merchant have set their sites on a Russian-backed network.
Posting on Telegram, Tommy Robinson said: “Give me a follow on VK. It’s Russia’s Facebook and I can go live there.”
VK is the most popular social networking site in Russia, boasting 500 million users. It was founded by Pavel Durov, who also founded Telegram – the new home of the far-right.
After leaving VK in 2014, Durov claimed the company had been taken over by allies of Vladimir Putin.
Britain First and Tommy Robinson added that they would be moving all their output to the network.
Britain First’s email said: “Britain First is going to be based entirely on VK in the future.”
In a video posted on VK, Tommy Robinson added he would be migrating users from Telegram and his email list to fully make use of VK.
Their conversion to Putinism is almost complete.