Analysts say Tik Tok is a hotbed of misinformation about the US elections

Analysts say Tik Tok is a hotbed of misinformation about the US elections

Misinformation about the elections is spreading on TikTok ahead of the US midterm elections despite the company’s policies.

Election misinformation is spreading on TikTok ahead of the US midterm elections despite the company’s policies – and watchdogs are concerned about its impact on young voters as more Americans use the platform as a source of news.

Posts spreading unsubstantiated allegations of voter fraud, lies about mail-in ballots and misleading videos about various state laws have found their home on the hugely popular app.

Perhaps it is more worrying: tik tok It approved paid political ads containing blatant misinformation, a practice the company said in 2019 it had banned.

One such ad reads: “Hackers can easily change election results! Don’t bother voting in the midterms.”

She was one of several researchers at Global Witness and New York University tests TikTok ban on paid political posts. The social media company approved 90 percent of ads submitted by the team that contained misleading information about the election.

“We are relatively shocked by this result,” said John Lloyd, senior advisor at Global Witness. World Health Organization TikTok has been described as “down the line” compared to other social media platforms that tackle electoral disinformation.

These lies coincide with more than eight million young people we New citizens became eligible to vote in the November 8 elections.

The parent company of TikTok is based in Beijing Byte DanceIt has rules aimed at curbing the spread of conspiracy theories about elections. But experts question how effective they are.

“Just because they have these policies in place doesn’t mean they are being well enforced,” Lloyd said, arguing that TikTok’s business model is based on “inflating and pushing people” toward content.

Although such criticism can target all social networks, a Pew Research Center survey found that more than a quarter of Americans between the ages of 18 and 29 regularly receive news from TikTok — although there is a significant minority of Videos Filed in search results that contain misinformation, according to media watchdog NewsGuard.

The platform’s powerful algorithm makes it possible for videos to quickly gain thousands of views, even without a constant following.

The sheer volume of content on TikTok also makes it “more likely that users in general – especially younger users who are more vulnerable – will engage with potentially divisive, polarizing and dismissive content,” said Matt Navarra, Social media UK-based industry analyst and consultant. Lies slip through the cracks – TikTok removes content that could mislead “civil operations, public health, or safety,” in accordance with its integrity policies – including lies about voting. The platform also bans fundraising for campaigns and recently launched an in-app election hub.

“We take our responsibility to protect the integrity of our platform and our elections very seriously,” a company spokesperson told AFP in an emailed statement. “We continue to invest in our politics, safety and security difference to counter electoral disinformation.

However, unsubstantiated allegations of ballot fraud and conspiracy theories shared by midterm candidates remain rife. This isn’t the first time TikTok has been used to spread election lies.

Earlier this year, platform influencer campaigns played a role in the Philippines presidential competition. In Germany, narratives spread as parliament and government officials, and in Kenya, the app was a den of propaganda, hate speech and disinformation.

In the second quarter of 2022, TikTok removed 113 million videos for violating its Community Guidelines — an amount that represents about one percent of all videos uploaded to the platform. A small portion of the posts were removed for violating the company’s integrity policies.

Remind them of how platforms like Facebook act as vectors of disinformation, including from former President Donald Trump’s unsubstantiated claims that the 2020 US election was “stolen” from him, analysts express little confidence in TikTok’s motivation and ability to tackle the problem.

“The ability for a company to make Facebook look good when it comes to disinformation and disinformation is an amazing achievement,” said Stephen Brill, CEO of NewsGuard. Perfect breeding grounds – Experts say the format of TikTok posts makes it easy to generate misinformation – and it’s hard for users to tell fact from fiction.

“Creating content is very fast, very easy, very simple, building a basic following,” Navarra said.

The posts are short and highly edited and often contain music, captions and audio commentaries that analysts say make it difficult to understand the nuances.

Jack Brewster, chief analyst at NewsGuard, said the threat to the democratic process was particularly stark, given TikTok’s young audience and many users’ inexperience in identifying reliable information.

“If young people are looking for election news on the platform, the videos are inherently short, so context often gets lost,” he said. “There is often little or no information about the sources.”

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