TikTok Strategy

TikTok Unveils Election Integrity Measures Addressing Hate Speech and Disinformation for Feb 8 Polls

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With a significant number of Pakistanis being avid social media users, online platforms are expected to play a major role in the upcoming general elections on February 8, as 126 million Pakistanis prepare to elect their representatives next month.

Political parties actively use social media to reach and appeal to voters. However, this comes at a price, namely the risk of potential misuse of social media platforms in the form of hate speech and disinformation.

With this in mind, TikTok has released its “Election Integrity Measures” to address this exact problem. The statistics are available in English and Urdu and ensure that the steps the platform is taking to combat hate speech, violence, and misinformation are in line with community guidelines.

Several elections around the world are plagued by disinformation and fake news. However, the platform assured that it would remove misleading information about civic processes, including voter registration, candidate eligibility, vote counting, and election results.

With its 40,000 employees responsible for user safety through the use of advanced technologies, while collaborating with intelligence companies, TikTok has ensured that the platform strictly prohibits content that intimidates voters, suppresses elections, or incites violence.

To combat the scourge of misinformation, the platform partners with local and regional fact-checkers to help it consistently and accurately remove election disinformation while removing content that has been verified or identified as unfounded from the For-You-Feed recommendation. Viewers and creators are cautioned about the potentially misleading nature of such content.

“A key part of TikTok’s strategy is the launch of the Pakistan Election Center on the platform, available in English and Urdu. This hub directs users to relevant information about the elections, including voting procedures and locations.

“Recognizing that global events often impact creative expression, TikTok remains committed to supporting its community in Pakistan and around the world,” the company statement said.

Additionally, the platform has enforced policies against political advertising, as it has separate rules for government, politician, or political party accounts.

Some notable features of TikTok’s election integrity rules are as follows:

Content removal:

The platform removes content that violates the Community Guidelines, including misinformation or disinformation that harms individuals or the general public.

This includes false claims that fuel distrust of public institutions, such as claims of voter fraud, content that misrepresents the election date, attempts to intimidate voters or suppress votes, etc.

Redirection of search results and hashtags

TikTok also refers hashtags and search results to its Community Guidelines, which include terms related to hate speech, incitement to violence, election fraud, misinformation, and more.

Limit content discoverability

Reduce content visibility, for example, by redirecting search results or excluding them from recommendations to users in the For You feeds.

This feature targets verified content that makes unsubstantiated claims, such as hasty declarations of victory before the results, assumptions about a candidate’s health, claims about polling places on Election Day, and more.

No more live-streaming

Violating TikTok’s Community Guidelines by posting content that incites violence or promotes hateful ideologies, conspiracies, or misinformation may prevent the user from using the livestream feature in the future.

Account ban

Accounts that repeatedly violate the platform’s policies and spread false information about the upcoming elections will be suspended.

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