TikTok Adds Restrictions On State-Backed Media To Combat Covert Influence Campaigns

TikTok is making it very clear how it’s got zero room for covert influence campaigns that have grown in recent times.

The popular social media app just released a newsroom post confirming how it would be setting out new limits on accounts it feels receive support and backing from government officials outside their native nations.

The company adds a disclaimer tag to such accounts and it’s been happening since the start of 2022, which is when we saw a host of state-backed media houses taking part in such a ban including Russia and Ukraine, as well as a few from Belarusia.

While it was limited to just a few nations in the past, the newest report on this front says more nations are now getting included. But the question is, are we really surprised?

Absolutely not because it comes at a time when the world gears up for the election period and with more than 4 billion individuals from various countries getting prepared to vote, we can see how this could really be a much-needed step.

As it is, the company has close to 170 million users in the US alone and you can see how popular it is around the globe too.

During the start of this year, we’ve seen TikTok embark on a disrupting journey where it got rid of close to 15 different influence campaigns and moved nearly 3000 affiliated accounts in this respect. They were designed to impact political discourse and also add more data linked to the upcoming elections period.

The company went on disrupting a series of attempts related to elections in the country of Indonesia while targeting citizens based in the UK too. These were those who were found guilty of artificial narration regarding the current electoral period and process in the UK that was arising domestically.

A recently published statement by the app was also revealed where it said the goal right now was to make sure the community featuring 170 million Americans could discover content that’s not only real but reliable. These would have the most authentic chats on the app. Furthermore, the app’s head for US data security says TikTok is working aggressively to stop attempts at influence while making sure it is free and as far from manipulation as possible.

Media accounts linked to the state won’t be featured on the platform’s For You page because that is how the platform recommends videos to others via an articulated algorithm so if it has opted to shine such content, then so be it.

For a while now, the app has been facing serious scrutiny from different leaders who referred to it as the most controversial and insecure app. So much so that it is now facing a ban across the US. Remember, it’s got roots based in China’s capital city of Beijing as that’s where ByteDance’s headquarters happens to be.

If the company fails to sell the app to another American seller then it could soon be facing a complete ban in the nation as the latest bill signed by US President Joe Biden asks for just that.

So far, a deadline of nine months has been outlined but an additional three months could be given if need be. But from what we’re hearing, a sellout might not be on the cards for TikTok. And even if it is, it could come at a huge cost, not to mention be without the main glory which is the app’s algorithm.

The outburst of reactions and emotions has a lot of people talking for obvious reasons. It’s not popular for creators who earn a living through the app to see this take center stage in the US while calls for a reversal of the decision by the court of law were also made.

Many fear this new law is taking away a great source of their income and it’s just unconstitutional to strip them of their freedom. Moreover, a similar ban was attempted by former American President Donald Trump in 2020 but that couldn’t happen and in the end, the decision was reversed.

Image: DIW-Aigen

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