TikTok trying to curb election misinformation

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An image of a woman holding a cell phone in front of a TikTok logo displayed on a computer screen.
On Tuesday, January 12, 2021, in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. (Photo by Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

(NewsNation) — TikTok will now explicitly label election-related content and posts from governmental and political figures in an attempt to curb misinformation ahead of the 2022 midterm election.

In a statement issued Wednesday, the platform said it needs to better educate creators and brands on disclosure requirements for paid influencer content. TikTok doesn’t allow paid political ads, including content that influencers are paid to create.

For sponsored content that is allowed, TikTok introduced a feature that allows creators to disclose paid relationships with brands and organizations.

The company also partners with independent intelligence firms and other industry experts to bolster its “response to emerging threats,” according to the statement. More than 347,200 videos were removed during the 2020 election for misinformation, disinformation, or manipulated media, according to a separate report.

“Out of an abundance of caution, while content is being fact checked or when content can’t be substantiated through fact-checking, it becomes ineligible for recommendation into For You feeds,” Wednesday’s statement read. “We also inform viewers of unsubstantiated content and prompt them to reconsider before sharing potential misleading information.”

Social media companies have been criticized for their handling of misinformation on their platforms in previous elections.

TikTok in particular has faced scrutiny over national security concerns. That criticism is tied to fears that the Chinese government could access information about U.S. users through data on the app which is owned by Beijing-based Bytedance, The Hill reported.

There’s a chance that you haven’t heard about this story. Most of the news outlets — 46% — who reported on the topic were left-leaning, according to NewsNation partner Ground News’ Blindspot report. 15% were right-leaning, and the remaining 39% were outlets aligned in the center of the political spectrum.

This story is part of NewsNation’s new “Blindspot” initiative in partnership with Ground News to provide readers with contextual, unbiased news they may not find covered by every media outlet.

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