Espreso. Global

TikTok's algorithm favors Russia and China, study claims

17 June, 2024 Monday
16:40

A new video by journalist Dmytro Karpenko raises concerns about potential bias in TikTok's algorithm, favoring content from Russia and China

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According to LIGA.net, Ukrainian journalist Dmytro Karpenko has published a new video highlighting the workings of TikTok's algorithms. He used data from three reputable independent studies, including The New York Times, ICRI, Tracking Exposed, and Brookings.

The video highlights a disparity between TikTok and Instagram. Hashtags critical of these governments, such as "protests in Hong Kong" or "Uighurs," appear significantly less frequently on TikTok compared to Instagram, even accounting for audience differences. This suggests users are more likely to encounter pro-Russian or pro-Chinese content on TikTok.

Screenshot from the videoKarpenko further analyzes trends in war-related content. Initially, anti-war videos dominated TikTok after the February 24th invasion of Ukraine. However, the video suggests Kremlin-linked accounts strategically replaced them over time. Notably, TikTok blocked all video uploads from Russia on March 7th, 2022, but then allegedly allowed pro-war content to resurface discreetly. This move is seen as potentially hindering Russians from sharing their perspectives on the war.

The video concludes by showing a significant increase in uploads from Kremlin-affiliated accounts on TikTok. These uploads reportedly grew from 20 videos per day at the war's outset to 140 per day currently.

Screenshot from the video

Karpenko's video suggests a potential need for further investigation into TikTok's content moderation practices and the potential spread of disinformation through its algorithm.

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