In the United States, young people bear the brunt of electoral misinformation on TikTok | Midterm elections in the United States

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In the United States, young people bear the brunt of electoral disinformation on TikTok | mid-term in the United States

Despite its policies of moderation, TikTok struggles to limit misinformation about US midterm elections, analysts say.

If the campaign is in full swing on social networks a few days before the American mid-term elections, misinformation is not left out either, including on TikTok. And despite the rules established by the Chinese giant, analysts fear the influence that false information shared on the platform popular with young people could have.

Videos, evoking without no basis for the existence of electoral fraud or theft of postal ballots, in particular found refuge on the network.

And perhaps even more worryingly, TikTok has endorsed paid political ads containing misinformation on its platform, despite the company claiming to ban such practice in 2019.

Hackers can easily change election results! No need to go vote!, can we hear in a video whose content was compiled by researchers from the non-governmental organization Global Witness.

In a joint experiment with New York University to test the limits of TikTok's ban, over 90% of misleading posts the team wrote were allowed on the site.

We are quite shocked by these results, Jon Lloyd, an adviser to Global Witness, told AFP, who describes TikTok as one of the dunce caps when it comes to moderation.

More than a quarter of young people between the ages of 18 and 29 in the United States consult TikTok for information.

More than eight million young Americans who visit the site will be able to vote for the first time this November 8. And according to a Pew Research Center survey, more than a quarter of 18- to 29-year-olds in the United States check TikTok for information.

The big The sheer amount of content on the platform means that its users, especially younger and more impressionable ones, will end up interacting with potentially polarizing or problematic posts, notes Matt Navarra, an expert social media consultant.

And if the parent company of TikTok, ByteDance, has measures to limit conspiracy theories on the social network, this does not mean that these are respected, explains Jon Lloyd.

TikTok is supposed to remove content related to public health, electoral processes, facts and science, which could harm citizens. But recent videos misleadingly or falsely communicating voter fraud in the United States are still online.

We take our responsibility to protect the integrity of our platform and the elections very seriously, a ByteDance spokesperson said in a statement to AFP.

We continue to invest in our regulations, our security, and our security teams to counter electoral disinformation, he continues.

Early voting has begun ahead of Tuesday's midterm elections in the United States.

D&#x27 Other countries have previously reported similar problems with the network, including during the presidential election in the Philippines, as well as in Germany, where fake parliamentary accounts were created, and in Kenya, where political propaganda prosperous.

In Q2 2022, TikTok removed 113 million videos for violating its Community Guidelines, roughly 1% of its published content.

Analysts express no real optimism for improvement in the future, remembering how the last US presidential election unfolded and the role of social media in spreading rumors about the election.

That Facebook is comparatively good on these issues seems incredible, said Steven Brill, president of NewsGuard, a site that rates news sources on their trustworthiness.

According to Matt Navarra, the very fast and very simplistic format of TikTok videos makes the creation and distribution of content within reach of any Internet user.

Combined with a powerful algorithm, it is then it's child's play to accumulate thousands of views at an astronomical speed, and this without necessarily having a large number of subscribers.

As for style, nuance often gives way to choppy content, accompanied by upbeat music and vocal commentary. It is then very difficult to distinguish myth from reality.

If young people seek information about the election on the platform, they will find short-lived results, devoid of context and often without explanation as to their source, concludes NewsGuard analyst Jack Brewster.

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