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TikTok takes steps to limit Russian and Chinese media reach in big election year| GuyWhoKnowsThings

TikTok said on Thursday it was introducing new measures to limit the spread of videos from state-affiliated media accounts, including Russian and Chinese outlets, as the company deflects criticism that it could be used as a propaganda tool in a major election year.

The company in 2022 started labelled accounts of state-affiliated media, such as those of RT, the Russian global television network, and the People's Daily, the official newspaper of the Chinese Communist Party. He said he would no longer allow videos from such accounts in users' main feeds if they are “trying to reach communities outside their home country about current global events and issues.”

TikTok also said that accounts would not be allowed to advertise on TikTok outside of their home countries, to further reduce their reach.

Social media platforms including Meta, YouTube and X are grappling with misinformation in a year where as much since half of the world's population will vote in important elections. Political news on TikTok, owned by Chinese company ByteDance, is under special scrutiny following the passage of a law that would force ByteDance to sell the company or face a ban in the United States. Lawmakers and intelligence officials have said TikTok is a national security threat, in part because of how the Chinese government could use it to spread propaganda.

TikTok, which is suing the federal government over the law, has vehemently rejected such concerns.

But fears about the US presidential election helped generate support for the new law. Officials like Lisa Monaco, the deputy attorney general of the United States, met with individual lawmakers before the bill was introducedsaying TikTok could be used to disrupt the US election.

TikTok also released a new report Thursday focused on the company's efforts to crack down on covert influence operations, which are a problem. through platforms while foreign governments and others impersonate local media or personalities to shape public opinion. TikTok said it disrupted 15 influence operations in the first four months of this year, most of which attempted to influence political discourse, including around the election. The targeted countries included Germany and Indonesia, and TikTok said it had removed thousands of accounts as part of the effort.

TO study this month of the Brookings Institution found that accounts affiliated with the Russian state had begun posting on TikTok more frequently this year, although they are much more active on X and Telegram. Only about 5 percent of the TikTok content posted by the accounts was linked to American political issues, but TikTok posts received more engagement, based on views, likes, shares and comments, than posts on X or Telegram, it found. the study.

“Russian state-backed accounts are likely to continue to allocate more resources and bandwidth to reach audiences on the platform, which remains one of the fastest growing in the United States,” Valerie Wirtschafter wrote in a report. , Brookings Fellow. “Selling TikTok to a US-based company likely won't change this calculus.”

Russian TikTok accounts have highlighted Tucker Carlson's recent interview with President Vladimir V. Putin, including a clip of Mr. Carlson admiring the beauty of Moscow, and emphasized President Biden's verbal gaffes, according to the study.

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