In the last few years, and particularly since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, misinformation on social media has started becoming a more serious concern for users.
TikTok is the latest platform to be accused of allowing misinformation on its platform, with a new report claiming that the platform has become a breeding ground for fake news.
According to the report, which was released by NewsGuard, after tracking online misinformation, around 20% of videos on TikTok could contain inaccurate information.
The app is famous for its lighthearted videos, like dance routines, funny clips, or recipes. However, users looking at videos about more serious topics, such as the war in Ukraine, climate change, or COVID-19 vaccines, are likely to run into information that’s false or misleading.
The report also found that when searching for the term “COVID vaccine” on TikTok, the platform auto-populated “COVID vaccine injury” and “COVID vaccine exposed,” both of which may lead to videos with misinformation. When searching for these terms on Google, on the other hand, users are directed to official health-related websites.
In response to the report, TikTok said that its community guidelines prohibit all kinds of misinformation and that any videos containing fake information are removed.
How to spot misinformation
Across most social media platforms, including Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube, there continues to be an issue related to the spread of misinformation online.
On TikTok, this is particularly worrying given the audience – TikTok is primarily aimed at younger age groups and nearly 50% of its audience is under 30.
It can be incredibly difficult to discern what is accurate and what isn’t online, but having access to the correct information can be crucial when it comes to certain topics.
Some of the ways users can spot misinformation are:
- Double checking the source
- Looking for typos and grammatical errors
- Checking that the author’s credentials
- Doing your own research to check the information
- Reporting any misinformation to the platform