TikTok War Videos About Ukraine Raise Questions About Spreading Misinformation

TikTok and other social media platforms are also under pressure from US lawmakers and Ukrainian officials to curb Russian misinformation about the war, especially from state-sponsored media outlets such as Russia Today and Sputnik. In response, YouTube said it would block Russia Today and Sputnik in the European Union, while Twitter and Meta, Facebook’s parent company, have said they would label content from the outlets as state-sponsored.

TikTok has also banned Sputnik and Russia Today in the EU, and on Friday said it would start labeling the outlets as state-sponsored in the countries where they are still available. The app also said Thursday it had spent more resources monitoring misleading content about the war.

“We continue to respond to the war in Ukraine with increased safety and security tools to detect emerging threats and remove harmful misinformation,” said Hilary McQuaide, a spokeswoman for TikTok.

For years, TikTok largely escaped constant scrutiny over its content. Unlike Facebook, which has been around since 2004, and YouTube, which was founded in 2005, TikTok has only been widely used for the past five years. The app, owned by China’s ByteDance, is designed to easily create and share one to three minute videos. It developed a reputation as a destination for addictive, crazy and fun videos, especially for young users.


March 5, 2022, 7:20 PM ET

The app has navigated through some controversies in the past. It faced questions about malicious fads that seemed to be emerging on its platform, as well as whether it allows underage users and adequately protects their privacy.

But the war in Ukraine has compounded the problems of TikTok, which has more than a billion users worldwide.

According to a review by The Times, the amount of war content on the app is much greater than that on some other social networks. Videos with the hashtag #Ukrainewar have been viewed nearly 500 million times on TikTok, and some of the most popular videos have received nearly a million likes. In contrast, the hashtag #Ukrainewar on Instagram had 125,000 posts and the most popular videos were viewed tens of thousands of times.

This post TikTok War Videos About Ukraine Raise Questions About Spreading Misinformation

was original published at “https://www.nytimes.com/2022/03/05/technology/tiktok-ukraine-misinformation.html”