About 40 % of teenage users prefer platforms like TikTok or Instagram to search, instead 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.
This organization, specialized in combating false information, has identified in the analyzed sample that almost 20 % of the videos that appeared in the search results contained erroneous information.
NewsGuard analyzed 540 TikTok search results, ranging from more neutral terms like ‘2022 election’, ‘climate change’ and ‘mRNA vaccine’ to more controversial ones like ‘Jan 6 FBI’ and ‘Uvalde conspiracy’.tx’. Of the total videos results analyzed on TikTok, the analysis revealed that 105 videos (19.4 %) contained false or misleading claims.
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 typing ‘climate change’, TikTok suggested searching for others such as ‘climate change discredited’ and ‘climate change does not exist’. In the case of ‘Covid vaccine’, the suggestions included ‘covid vaccine truths’, ‘covid vaccine exposed’, ‘Covid hiv vaccine’ and ‘Covid vaccine warning’.
In the results of Google’s analysis, NewsGuard states that this engine offered “easier” suggestions, such as ‘Covid vaccine walk-in’, ‘which Covid vaccine is the best’ and ‘types of Covid vaccines’ in the case of searching ‘Covid vaccine. “None of these terms were suggested by TikTok,” they point out from NewsGuard, who indicate that “by comparison, it provided higher quality and less polarizing results, with much less misinformation.”
TikTok contents removed for misleading
TikTok, for its part, 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 Integrity and Authenticity section.
According to the latest ‘Community Standards Compliance Report’ available (January-March 2022), the company removed 102,305,516 videos from the platform for non-compliance with policies, only 0.6 % for the issues listed in the section ‘Integrity and Authenticity’.
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