Someone voting with a phone with tiktok on it in the background

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TikTok opens 2024 Election Center to combat misinformation, manipulation on the platform

Will TikTok face the same problems Meta and Twitter had in elections past?

 

Tricia Crimmins

Tech

Posted on Jan 24, 2024

TikTok unveiled its 2024 Election Center last week, which provides users state-by-state voting information and guidance on combating election disinformation as the risks of platform manipulation increase as Election Day approaches.

On Jan. 18, TikTok’s global head of risk Suzy Loftus published a blog post on TikTok’s online newsroom detailing how the app plans to moderate content throughout the 2024 election.

Initiatives include countering misinformation by using “misinformation moderators,” partnering with fact-checking organizations, “deterring covert influence operations,” banning misleading AI-generated content, and prohibiting political ads from running on TikTok.

Loftus is the former interim district attorney of San Fransisco.

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The app’s however isn’t focused solely on combating fake facts floating around the site.

Its Election Center is also now available for use. The center provides TikTok users with state-specific resources on how to register to vote and check their voter registration status. It also provides information on filing absentee ballots and early voting, as well as aiding voters overseas, in the military, and those with disabilities or prior convictions that may face difficulties.

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Notably, TikTok’s Election Center also provides advice for “thinking critically about election info.”

“Verify info with trusted resources and try to confirm the original source of the video’s information. Content about unfolding events may not always be accurate when you view it,” the Election Center states. “Remember to pause and consider the impact of your words before you post.”

During and after past election cycles, social media platforms have been used to spread misinformation and conspiracy theories.

In 2016, Facebook was considered to be abused by outside actors to try and steer the election toward former president Donald Trump. In the years since, almost every major platform struggled with moderating political content.

TikTok’s Loftus boasts that TikTok has “worked to protect” itself “through over 150 elections around the world” over the last four years, and has been partnering with “local creators” to bolster media literacy since last year. It hasn’t seen any massive scandal yet regarding elections, but recently deepfakes of Taylor Swift hawking products she hadn’t endorsed came under scrutiny.

And while in 2020, the focus was on Twitter and Hunter Biden’s laptop, in 2024, TikTok is by far the biggest platform in the world. With nearly 2 billion users, it might be the place where election efforts, both aboveboard and nefarious, will play out.

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*First Published: Jan 24, 2024, 2:55 pm CST