TikTok Purged 347,000 Videos for US Election Misinformation

Another 441,028 clips were removed from TikTok’s recommendations for spreading “unsubstantiated” claims

Trump Biden tiktok

On Wednesday, TikTok said it removed 347,225 videos in the U.S. over the second half of 2020 for posting “election misinformation, disinformation, or manipulated media,” according to a new “transparency report” from the app.

TikTok didn’t offer a ton of insight into how the company went about determining whether videos were spreading false election claims. The company’s report defined misinformation as “content that is inaccurate or false,” and said TikTok worked with fact checkers at PolitiFact, Lead Stories and SciVerify to “assess the accuracy of content and limit distribution of unsubstantiated content.” Whether the bogus claims were more in favor of Donald Trump or Joe Biden is unclear, with the report failing to mention either the president or the ex-president by name.

On top of the nearly 350,000 videos that were removed, another 441,028 clips were deemed ineligible for the app’s recommendations for sharing “unsubstantiated” claims.

“We further removed 1,750,000 accounts that were used for automation during the timeframe of the US elections,” TikTok’s report added. “While it’s not known if any of the accounts were used specifically to amplify election-related content, it was important to remove this set of accounts to protect the platform at this critical time.”

TikTok faced a ban in the U.S. during the second half of last year, when then-President Trump signed an executive order claiming the app, which has about 100 million American users, posed a national security threat because of its close ties to China’s communist government. In response, TikTok said it has never shared user information with the Chinese government — although under Chinese law, the app’s parent company, ByteDance, would be compelled to share user information with government officials. Circumstances have now changed since President Biden took office, with NPR recently reporting the Trump Administration’s plan to ban TikTok if it didn’t sell its U.S. operations has been “put on ice” by the current administration.

You can read TikTok’s full transparency report here.


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