Poland’s ruling party, Law and Justice (PiS), had one of its TikTok videos banned on the platform after it went viral, receiving over 300,000 views and 10,000 comments.
The video was posted by PiS parliamentary deputy Radosław Fogiel and involved asking young people “Why do you hate PiS?”
The comments by young users concentrated on criticism of state media, rising prices, the lack of separation of church and state, educational reforms piloted by the conservative Education Minister Przemysław Czarnek, rule of law, and taxation and welfare discouraging people from working. However, over the weekend, the film was removed and replaced with a notice that the material had been removed for having violated social media rules.
The censorship came shortly after a new video was posted by Radosław Fogiel on the PiS TikTok channel, where he responded to the avalanche of comments in the viral video that was banned. In it, he said he and his party colleagues would read the comments and reply to them.
“We posed a provocative question precisely to engage you in a discussion. Some of your comments need explaining, some of them we won’t agree with, and others we just have to accept. The feedback will help us improve,” he said.
Fogiel and his colleagues said they hope that the film will be restored to their TikTok channel. MEP Tomasz Poręba, head of the ruling conservative PiS election headquarters, tweeted that the party had opened up a TikTok channel in the last two months and was pleased with the outreach it has managed to achieve. He commented that now that things had been going so well, there were attempts to block the campaign.
This is not the first time that Polish conservatives have had problems with their social media accounts. The Confederation party had their Youtube channel blocked, and the nationalist organizers of the annual Independence March also had their Facebook account blocked. The Polish Ministry of Justice has in the past protested such behavior from tech giants and promised legislation to tackle the matter; however, to date, no such legislation has been produced.
Remix News has also had its TikTok channel repeatedly locked due to so-called violations of the site’s terms of service. Remix News is now likely under a shadow ban, with any video posted seeing dramatically lower reach than previous videos, which often received hundreds of thousands — and sometimes millions — of views.