TikTok is the latest social platform to preview its strategy to combat election misinformation ahead of the November midterms. The company is again promoting its in-app voting center, which connects users to voting resources and information about their local races. According to TikTok, a link to the election center will appear in all content related to the midterm elections, as well as in all videos from candidates, political parties and official government accounts.
The company will also continue to work with third-party fact-checkers to debunk false claims and warn users when a video contains unverified information. Videos of claims debunked by fact-checkers are also directing viewers to the voting center.
While much of this is similar to steps the company took ahead of the 2020 presidential election, Eric Han, the company’s head of U.S. security, says the company has built on lessons learned from 2020. For example, TikTok is increasing its outreach to developers in an effort to ensure they understand the company’s ban on political advertising, including branded content.
The problem has been a challenge for TikTok. A Mozilla report last year found that many creators with financial ties to political candidates and organizations were able to do so with ease on the app. In a briefing with reporters, Han acknowledged that undisclosed branded content is a “challenge” for the company.
He said the company is creating instructional videos for developers and agencies to better educate them on TikTok’s rules on such partnerships. He also said the company is working to improve its ability to detect such content, both by monitoring third-party reports and with internal teams “looking for potential signals that we should investigate.”
TikTok isn’t the only social platform getting a head start in preparing for the fall midterms. Twitter announced last week that it was its civic integrity policy and would introduce redesigned fact-checking labels. Meta also recently previewed its strategy to combat misinformation during the midterm elections, saying it will do many of the steps it took ahead of the 2020 presidential election.
But TikTok went under for its rapid growth over the past two years and its parent company ByteDance’s ties to China. The company announced this week that Oracle would adopt its algorithms and moderation practices.
“As part of Oracle’s work, they will regularly review and validate both our recommendation and our moderation models,” Han told reporters. “There will be regular audits of our content moderation processes, both from automated systems … and content moderated and reviewed by humans.”
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