TikTok latest platform to address disinformation issues

16 Oct 2023

Image: © chathuporn/Stock.adobe.com

The video-sharing platform said it has mobilised ‘significant resources’ to fight disinformation emerging from the Israel-Hamas war.

TikTok announced its measures following a letter from EU commissioner Thierry Breton, who has also requested plans from other social platforms.

The video-sharing platform’s plans include mobilising “significant resources and personnel” to protect the site from disinformation, hate speech and graphic content that has emerged from the Israel-Hamas war.

In a blogpost yesterday (15 October), TikTok said it has been working diligently to remove content that violates the platform’s guidelines since the attack on 7 October.

“To date, we’ve removed over 500,000 videos and closed 8,000 livestreams in the impacted region for violating our guidelines.”

Breton said that TikTok has a particular obligation to protect children and teenagers from violent content and propaganda. “DSA sets out very clear obligations TikTok must comply with,” he added, requesting a reply with stepped-up measures within 24 hours.

In response, TikTok said it’s crisis management measures include launching a command centre for its safety professionals, adding more content moderators who speak Arabic and Hebrew, adding opt-in screens over content that could be graphic and adding temporary additional restrictions on the eligibility to post live.

Additionally, it said it is evolving its automated detection system to help reduce content moderators’ exposure to graphic and violent content and deploying additional wellbeing resources for frontline moderators.

The EU Commission is also investigating X, formerly Twitter, over the alleged spreading of disinformation on the platform.

As part of the investigation, X must provide information by 18 October for questions related to the “activation and functioning of X’s crisis response protocol”.

The investigation follows reports that the site was flooded with Israel-Hamas conflict disinformation. While Breton has also sent letters to the CEOs of Meta and YouTube asking for additional safety measures, X is under particular scrutiny for its role in spreading disinformation.

Earlier this year, a report claimed the site had the highest proportion of disinformation when ranked against other major social media platforms, having fallen short of reporting standards in EU disinformation code.

And according to The Information, the platform run by Elon Musk shut down a disinformation-fighting tool that could identify when different accounts shared the same or similar media.

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Jenny Darmody is the editor of Silicon Republic