20% of the information in TikTok may not be true

TikTok’s growing popularity is turning the entertainment content platform into a trusted search engine among those now 18 to 24 years old. Mashable wrote about the new trend back in the summer. However, a NewsGuard study found that 20% of the information posted on TikTok was untrue.

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As Mashable continues to point out, using TikTok as an alternative search engine is harmless enough when it comes to recommending a movie or lunch spot. But the platform can be used to search for more serious topics, and that’s where the Z-generation may be in for some unexpected news.

According to a report by research platform NewsGuard, its experts analyzed 540 TikTok videos, and 105 of them contained “false or misleading statements.” Four U.S.-based analysts participated in the NewsGuard study, and they used both neutral and more “conspiracy” search terms in their queries, but TikTok itself often suggested changing the neutral query to a more controversial one. For example, a search for “climate change” could lead to the app suggesting “climate change doesn’t exist,” and a search for “COVID vaccine” could be followed up with “dangerous” or “useless.”

That said, TikTok’s publicly available community compliance report claims that in the first quarter of 2022, TikTok deleted more than 102 million videos for violating community principles. And only about 1% of them were removed for violating TikTok’s “honesty and authenticity” rules as containing “harmful misinformation.”

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“Our Community Principles clearly state that we do not tolerate malicious misinformation and remove it from the platform,” a TikTok spokesperson claims in a statement to Mashable. “We work with trusted experts to maintain authoritative content on public health topics, and we partner with independent fact-checkers to help us assess the accuracy of content.”

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