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TikTok prepares for mid-term misinformation chaos

TikTok prepares for mid-term misinformation chaos

In just a few short years, TikTok has become one of the fastest growing social networks in the world – and with the 2022 midterm election cycle heating up, the app is now preparing to tackle the serious problem of electoral misinformation.

In a blog post on Wednesday, TikTok's US head of security, Eric Han, explained how the company plans to tackle the threat of harmful misinformation. First, TikTok will begin rolling out its poll center this week to provide official polling information in the coming weeks and results from the Associated Press once the reports come in. TikTok says it will connect with the election center through labels placed on mid-term-related content, including videos posted by governments, candidates and political parties.

While TikTok banned paid political advertising in 2019, Han said the platform is pushing for an existing policy regarding restricting paid influencer content. During the 2020 election cycle, campaigns and political groups, including the Biden-Harris campaign, collaborated with influencers across platforms to reach voters who were spending more time online as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

"TikTok doesn't allow paid political ads, and it does contain paid to create content influencers," Han said in Wednesday's blog post.

But in a report last summer, the Mozilla Foundation found that those with political influence on TikTok, despite the ban, continued to post partisan ads in sponsorships with political groups like Brand. TikTok noted the disparity in a post-election report last year and now plans to publish new educational content for creators and management companies, explaining its rules restricting paid political collaboration. Has been. Nevertheless, influencers associated with political groups such as Turning Point USA may not receive payment for branded content, instead receiving event invitations and networking opportunities. When asked whether the ban applied to these unpaid partnerships, Han confirmed that did not happen.

TikTok only started to gain traction in the United States at the height of the 2018 midterm cycle, with a $1 billion purchase of music that August. The app continued to grow in popularity during the 2020 presidential election, but has become a social media staple, leading Facebook, Instagram and Twitter in Apple's App Store charts as of the most recent publication. According to a recent report from the Pew Research Center, nearly 67 percent of American teens use TikTok, and for a longer period of time, than competing social media apps. The average US user spends about 80 minutes per day on TikTok, doubling the time users spend on Facebook and Instagram, a July report from analytics firm Sensor Tower found.

In a briefing with reporters on Tuesday, TikTok executives emphasized the company's commitment to protecting the integrity of US elections. “At TikTok, we are very proud that people come to our platform to share their stories, not only that but also learn about other people's stories, and this will include discussions about current events that They are happening all over the world. His world,” Han said during the briefing. “When people are discussing these kinds of topics like elections, it is our job to face any humanitarian challenge and save our community from harm.”

With less than 90 days from the November election, major tech platforms have already started preparing. Last week, Twitter said it would bring back its tools to remove false and misleading election information. Google last week struck a deal with the Federal Election Commission to launch a new program that would allow candidates and political groups to bypass Gmail's spam filters, allowing their fundraising messages to reach voter inboxes. In Tuesday's blog post, Facebook's parent company, Meta, said its mid-term outlook would be "in line with the policies and safeguards" that were established during the 2020 presidential election.

TikTok has continued to grow in popularity despite several regulatory and political threats to ban the app outright in the US. Former President Donald Trump has repeatedly tried to take TikTok offline, citing national security concerns. As part of this effort, Trump signed several executive orders seeking to prohibit any transactions between one of the US entities and TikTok's parent company ByteDance. Last summer, President Joe Biden issued his order revoking the Trump administration's ban and directed the Commerce Department to investigate TikTok's relationship with Beijing.

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