Teens and young people who frequent TikTok may find themselves exposed to harmful information masquerading as helpful tips.
- An investigation from reliability rating platform NewsGuard found that TikTok users who search for information about prominent news topics will often find false or misleading information rather than helpful resources.
- The video sharing platform features videos about trending topics, however the investigation revealed that approximately 20% of search results contained inaccurate information.
- TikTok’s current policies allow for misinformation videos to be removed.
Why it’s news
TikTok is a popular social-media platform, especially among young people, and despite warnings not to believe everything on the Internet, viewers can often be influenced by information found on the platform.
The videos with inaccurate or misleading information ranged from the war in Russia and Ukraine to potentially dangerous home remedy solutions for COVID-19.
In the first quarter of 2022, TikTok took down over 100 million videos for violations of the Community Guidelines, but less than one percent of the removed videos were removed for promoting misinformation, NewGuard reports.
Though misinformation on social media platforms is already a concern, it is especially worrying on TikTok as Google CEO Sundar Pichai says that the search engine is in competition with TikTok. More young people are using the social media site as a search engine.
Backing up a bit
The Chinese government’s connection with TikTok has long been a point of concern for opponents of the social media platform. Now, with the revelation that hundreds of TikTok and ByteDance employees have close ties to Chinese state media, those concerns are growing.
Forbes reviewed hundreds of LinkedIn profiles of current employees of TikTok and ByteDance, the company that owns the site, finding that 300 of them were once Chinese state media employees.
Of these profiles, 23 were managing “content partnerships, public affairs, corporate social responsibility, and media cooperation.”
Fifteen of the profiles indicate that the employees are also currently employed by Chinese state media groups, several of which are identified by the State Department as extensions of the Chinese government.
Though 15 of the LinkedIn profiles showed employees working for both ByteDance and the Chinese state media, a ByteDance representative told Forbes that company policy does not allow employees to work two jobs.
Chinese influence on TikTok could be an issue in American culture. Already the app is a powerful tool in driving the focus and interests of common discourse.
In an apparent attempt to smooth things over with U.S. officials, TikTok has increased focus on hiring U.S. based employees, but high-level U.S. employees appear to be fleeing the company.