TikTok failed the “disinformation test” ahead of the EU election

Olha Bereziuk

Social network TikTok has approved ads containing political misinformation ahead of European elections.

Euractiv writes about it.

International campaign Global Witness created 16 adverts aimed at Irish audiences and misrepresenting this weekʼs EU elections, and sought approval from three platforms — TikTok, YouTube and X (formerly Twitter).

TikTok approved all 16 posts, YouTube approved 14, and X filtered all ads and suspended fake accounts.

All fake ads contained content that could pose a threat to election processes. In particular, there were warnings to voters to stay at home due to the danger of violence at polling stations and a surge in infectious diseases.

They also contained a false message about raising the legal voting age to 21 and calls for voting by email, which is not allowed in European elections.

In TikTokʼs response to the investigation, the platform acknowledged that the ad violated its policies.

Citing an internal investigation, the Chinese company ByteDance said its systems correctly identified the violation, but the ad was approved due to "human error" by a moderator.

  • At the end of this week, on June 6-9, elections to the European Parliament will be held. Citizens of the European Union elect 720 members of parliament (MEPs) from all member states. Early voting has already started in some countries (in particular, in Lithuania and Latvia).
  • Politico predicts that after the elections, the number of MEPs from far-right parties will exceed the number of MEPs from the center-right European Peopleʼs Party.