TikTok to ramp up fight against fake news, covert influence ahead of EU elections

By Thomson Reuters Feb 13, 2024 | 11:06 PM

By Foo Yun Chee

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – ByteDance-owned social media platform TikTok said on Wednesday it will ramp up its fight against fake news and covert influence operations in the run-up to European Parliament elections in June with a local language app in all 27 countries.

Tiktok said the individual local language “election centres” build on work it first started in 2021, which accelerated last year when Greece, the Netherlands, Poland, Slovakia and Spain went to the polls.

The app is designed to better inform Europeans about the electoral process.

Governments and politicians around the world are concerned about the spread of misinformation and the use of AI-generated deepfakes to influence elections and especially the role of social media platforms.

Some 30% of European Parliament lawmakers use TikTok, the company said.

“Next month, we will launch a local language Election Centre in-app for each of the 27 individual EU member states to ensure people can easily separate fact from fiction,” TikTok’s head of trust & safety EMEA Kevin Morgan said in a blogpost.

“Working with local electoral commissions and civil society organisations, these Election Centres will be a place where our community can find trusted and authoritative information,” he said.

The company worked with news checkers to produce educational videos about the electoral process and misinformation via the election centres during national elections in previous years.

Morgan said TikTok, which currently works with nine fact-checking organisations in Europe, plans to expand its fact-checking network and launch nine additional media literacy campaigns this year.

It will introduce dedicated covert influence operations reports in the coming months to increase transparency and accountability.

(Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; Editing by Sharon Singleton)