TikTok search results are reportedly swarming with misinformation

While TikTok is no stranger to the fight against misinformation, the problem could be worse than you think. As the AP According to reports, Internet trust researchers at NewsGuard have released a report claiming that nearly 20 percent of sampled search results for major news topics contained misinformation. The false claims covered topics ranging from the Russian invasion of Ukraine to COVID-19 vaccines and the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the US Capitol.

NewsGuard also found that typing innocuous queries can lead to misinformation-packed suggestions. For example, start by searching “climate change” and TikTok will offer searches related to climate science denial. The findings are also more polarizing than via Google, according to the researchers, as 12 of the top 20 results for the US mid-term 2022 contained highly partisan statements.

We asked TikTok for a comment. In a statement to NewsGuard, a spokesman said the social media giant does not allow “harmful misinformation” and is pulling it from the platform.

TikTok is dedicated to removing misinformation. For example, nearly 350,000 videos related to the 2020 US presidential election were deleted by the end of the year. The company uses AI to screen videos and either automatically retrieves starred clips or sends them to human presenters. As you can imagine, the concern is that this approach isn’t capturing enough offenders — especially those who avoid using keywords that might alert the AI.

As prominent as misinformation is, the report comes at a bad time for TikTok. Operations manager Vanessa Pappas is scheduled to testify alongside executives from other companies at a Senate hearing today on the impact of social media on national security. The results won’t necessarily emerge during the hearing, but they could further pressure TikTok to crack down on falsehoods.

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https://www.engadget.com/tiktok-search-results-misinformation-153031730.html?src=rss TikTok search results are reportedly swarming with misinformation

Russell Falcon

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