Fake Accounts and Misinformation Are Proliferating on TikTok Since Start of Gaza War, App Confirms 

The platform says it removed 35 million fake accounts in the month after the start of the war, a 67 percent increase from the month prior.

AP/J. Scott Applewhite
Opponents of TikTok call for a ban on the hugely popular video-sharing app, at the Capitol at Washington. AP/J. Scott Applewhite

Amid waves of international backlash and calls for bans of one of the most popular social media platforms, TikTok says it is taking “swift action” against pro-Hamas content and fake accounts that are flooding the app. 

Between October 7 and November 17, the social media platform says it removed “more than 1,164,000 videos in the conflict region for breaking our rules, including content promoting Hamas, hate speech, terrorism and misinformation.” Globally, the November 23 statement says, the app has removed millions of posts in the same period.

“In the month before the conflict started, we removed 21 million fake accounts globally, compared to 35 million fake accounts removed in the month after the start of the war — a 67 percent increase,” TikTok’s statement notes. The app’s moderators have also removed 933,000 bot comments “posted on content tagged with hashtags related to the conflict.”

The latest numbers come as the app has faced international scrutiny for a viral wave of videos supporting Osama bin Laden’s “Letter to America” and an enormous gap in the amount of pro-Israel posts compared to pro-Palestinian posts, as the Sun has reported. 

The surging anti-Israel content has been condemned by high-profile lawmakers, including Senator Rubio, who has been vocal for years in calling for bans of the app. 

The risk from TikTok isn’t the “harmless entertainment” such as dancing videos posted on the platform, or even that the app, like other platforms, collects mass user data, Mr. Rubio says, in a video posted on his X account Friday night. 

“The risk is that TikTok is the only social media company that’s completely controlled by the communist party of China,” Mr. Rubio says. “Having the Chinese Communist party in complete control of the fastest growing social media app in America, with over 100 million users, is an unacceptable national security threat.” 

In a separate thread, Mr. Rubio noted that “TikTok is a funnel for China to manipulate information going to young Americans.” He said the “Marxist bias” on the app reflects its “subservience to the world’s most powerful Marxist regime: the Chinese Communist part.” 

TikTok responded to Mr. Rubio’s post, saying that it was “simply false.” 

“Our recommendation algorithm doesn’t ‘take sides’ and has rigorous measures in place to prevent manipulation — by any entity,” TikTok said. 

It’s not just Republicans that are turning on the social media site. 

“We need to hold accountable the social media sites, in particular, TikTok, which is just full of virulent pro-Hamas and antisemitic material,” Senator Murphy, a Democrat from Connecticut, said on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday. 

He added that “we also have to recognize that these young people are getting their information from somewhere, often from a Chinese-controlled social media platform that has in its interests trying to turn Americans against each other.”

The New York Sun

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