Chinese-Controlled TikTok Is Pumping Misinformation To Young People
(AmericanProsperity.com) – The social media platform TikTok, which is owned by Chinese internet conglomerate ByteDance and partially belongs to the state, has grown more popular over the relatively short time it’s been around. The site attracts so many users that younger people from all over the world are increasingly using it as a search engine instead of Google. A recent NewsGuard report suggests that could pose a very serious problem because TikTok is well-known for dispersing misinformation.
Seeking the Truth
NewsGuard, a misinformation tracking firm, launched an investigation into TikTok and the amount of disinformation it promotes some time ago. The firm discovered that on TikTok, around 1 in 5 of all results presented in response to a user keyword or phrase search contained some form of misinformation.
Troublingly, false information popped up more frequently when searching for hot-button topics, including COVID-19, the war in Ukraine, and even the 2020 US elections. The results suggest, at least at face value, that people who search the platform are likely to find far more false claims than they would when using traditional search engines, such as Google.
NewsGuard also noted one particularly disturbing trend when an analyst searched “Bucha” on both platforms. On TikTok, they found several results claiming the Bucha Massacre, in which Russian forces abused and killed hundreds of civilians, was staged by Ukraine and completely false. When the analyst searched “Bucha fake” on Google, the majority of the results were sites debunking claims that the massacre wasn’t real.
TikTok’s Head of Trust and Safety, Cormac Keenan, issued a press release on September 28 claiming that TikTok prohibits content containing false information via its community guidelines. Keenan indicated that the social media service does remove such content as necessary and, in some cases, totally bans the accounts sharing it.
The site reportedly continues to evolve its efforts to counter fake information and the people or organizations spreading it, who it says are constantly finding new ways to achieve their goals.
According to TikTok’s Community Guidelines Enforcement Report, which is available to the public, the platform deleted 102 million videos in the first quarter of 2022 due to community guideline violations. The company claims that just 1% of the videos were removed for disregarding TikTok’s “integrity and authenticity” rules.
According to data from Cloudflare, TikTok dethroned Google as the top domain in 2021, coming up from 7th place in 2020. Prabhakar Raghavan, the senior vice president of Google, spoke at Fortune’s Brainstorm Tech conference earlier this year. He mentioned that internal studies have found that 4 out of 10 young people prefer to use social media apps like TikTok or Instagram to search for information.
So, why is this all so much of a problem? Ultimately, TikTok’s popularity means that information published on the platform can be extremely influential. Visitors may be more likely to believe what they see, even if it’s purely misinformation. The greater the number of users interacting with videos each day, the higher the chance for someone to have the wool pulled over their eyes inadvertently.
But there are other serious concerns about allowing people to spread misinformation on social media sites so freely. Could undesirables or bad actors use it to sow chaos, significantly impacting the future of America and the world?
~Here’s to Your Prosperity!
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