About 20% of search results on Tiktok contain false or misleading information

MADRID, Sep. 19 (Portaltic(EP) –

Younger users of social networks flock to TikTok in search of entertainment and also current information, which constantly exposes them to content with false or erroneous informationpresent in nearly 20 percent of search results.

About 40 percent of teen users prefer platforms like TikTok or Instagram to perform searchesinstead of doing them through Google Maps or the Google search engine, according to a study carried out by the technological giant.

However, “these constantly receive false and misleading claims when they search TikTok for information on prominent news topics”, whether it be the Russian invasion of Ukraine, school shootings or Covid vaccines, as is clear from an investigation. made by NewsGuard.

Specifically, this organization, specialized in combating false information, has identified in the analyzed sample that nearly 20 percent of videos that appeared in search results contained misinformation.

The investigation also includes a comparison with the search results offered by Google, on the 2020 presidential elections, Covid-19, the war between Russia and Ukraine, the 2022 US mid-term elections, abortion and shootings. in schools, among other topics.

NewsGuard analyzed 540 TikTok search results, from more neutral terms such as ‘2022 election’, ‘climate change’ and ‘mRNA vaccine’ to more controversial ones such as ‘Jan 6 FBI’ and ‘Uvalde tx conspiracy’. Of the total videos results analyzed on Tiktok, the analysis revealed that 105 videos (19.4%) with false or misleading statements.

The researchers note that TikTok’s own search engine suggested more controversial search terms when more neutral ones were entered. As an example, they explain that when writing ‘climate change’, TikTok suggested searching for others such as ‘climate change discredited’ and ‘climate change does not exist’; In the case of ‘covid vaccine’, suggestions included ‘covid vaccine truths’, ‘covid vaccine exposed’, ‘covid hiv vaccine’ and ‘covid vaccine warning’.

In the results of google analyticsNewsGuard claims that this engine offered “easier” suggestions, such as ‘covid vaccine without an appointment’, ‘which covid vaccine is the best’ and ‘types of covid vaccines’ in the case of searching for ‘covid vaccine’. “None of these terms were suggested by TikTok,” they point out from NewsGuard, who indicate that “in comparison, it provided results higher quality and less polarizingwith much less misinformation.”

The trend is repeated with searches on the war in Ukraine, for example, by entering the term ‘Bucha’, the Ukrainian city where hundreds of bodies were found in April after the withdrawal of Russian forces. One TikTok suggestion is ‘Bucha fake’, and out of 20 results, at least 6 contained false and misleading claims about the massacre of civilians.

For its part, TikTok ensures that it will remove any content, regardless of format, that violates the community standards, which includes “spam or false participation, identity theft or misleading information that causes significant damage”, as stated in the section of integrity and authenticity.

According to the latest available ‘Community Standards Compliance Report’ (January-March 2022), the company removed 102,305,516 videos from the platform for non-compliance with the policies, only 0.6 percent for the issues included in the ‘Integrity and authenticity’ section.

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