A Chinese influencer who talked about his experience fighting in Ukraine as a Russian soldier has been banned from Douyin after online sleuths exposed him as a fraud.
His content mainly featured him speaking in Mandarin about his “first-hand” experiences on the Russia-Ukraine battlefield.
Deceiving social media: In one of his videos, the influencer claimed that he and other soldiers were “engaged in a life-and-death battle with the Ukrainian army,” adding that they even managed to capture a few Ukrainian soldiers. The man reportedly filmed the video in front of a power plant he claimed to be in Ukraine.
In another video, he reportedly claimed that he and his army had fought U.S. Navy Seals and shot down U.S. military drones.
Becoming a businessman: Pavel Korchatie started an e-commerce business which offered imported Russian goods, such as honey and vodka, after he gained hundreds of thousands of followers online, according to reports.
Getting exposed online: Some eagle-eyed social media users alleged that the influencer used filters in his videos. They also claimed that he spoke Mandarin with a strong Henan accent.
Other online sleuths learned that the influencer was based in China’s Henan province after tracking him down using his videos’ IP addresses.
They also claimed that the power plant featured in one of his past videos was actually a power station in the Chinese city of Luoyang and that the cars in the background of the video featured Chinese license plates.
The aftermath: After being exposed, Pavel Korchatie reportedly changed his username to “Wang Kangmei” (“Wang Anti-America”) and wrote in his bio that he was a “Vanguard Against America.” He was eventually banned by Douyin for spreading false information.