Ahead of 2020 election, TikTok partners with fact-checkers to prevent misinformation

Fact-checkers will help 'reduce discoverability of content that prematurely claims victory,' TikTok US Head of Security Eric Han said

TikTok has partnered with fact-checkers ahead of the 2020 presidential election to prevent the spread of disinformation, such as early claims to victory, according to a blog post.

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Fact-checkers will help TikTok to determine the "accuracy of content" so the social media app "can quickly remove false or manipulated videos," TikTok US Head of Safety Eric Han said in the Wednesday post.

Fact-check partners are listed as PolitiFact, Poynter Institute and its MediaWise program, Science Feedback, Lead Stories and Vishvas News.

"With heightened focus around Election Day, we'll be partnering with these fact checkers to reduce discoverability of content that prematurely claims victory in a race before results are confirmed by The Associated Press," Han wrote. "Out of an abundance of caution, if claims can't be verified or fact-checking is inconclusive, we'll limit distribution of the content."

A man opens social media app TikTok on his cellphone in Islamabad, Pakistan. (AP Photo/Anjum Naveed, File)

Han added that TikTok will also "add a banner pointing viewers to our election guide on content with unverifiable claims about voting, premature declarations of victory, or attempts to dissuade people from voting by exploiting COVID-19 as a voter suppression tactic."

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TikTok's election guide, accessed via the app's Discover page, will present users with information regarding polling locations and hours, voter registration requirements and so on. The app is also partnering with the Associated Press to display a map with live election results and has launched a get-out-the-vote campaign in an effort to get its young userbase to participate in the election.

Political content is not uncommon on the app. Users claimed partial credit for banding together and claiming tickets to President Trump's June rally in Tusla, Okla., in an effort to inflate attendance expectations.

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An anti-Trump PAC led by teenagers called MemePac also promotes anti-Trump content on TikTok and other social media sites. The PAC has more than 310,000 followers on TikTok.

"Every time you follow us on Twitter, Trump gets ejected!" on TikTok video on the PAC's page says.

Another anti-Trump political TikTok page called "The Dem Hype House" has more than 207,000 followers. A pro-Trump TikTok page called "The Conservative Hype House," by contrast, has 1.5 million followers. And these political pages are not just common in the U.S.; U.K. users have also dedicated pages to the Labour Party and the Green Party.

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TikTok first announced that it would be broadening its fact-checking partnerships in August and further expanded those partnerships ahead of Nov. 3.

The announcement comes as other social media sites like Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Snapchat launch a number of new initiatives ahead of Election Day to prevent the spread of misinformation while pressure mounts for Big Tech to shield American voters from false news and foreign interference, which proved to be an issue during the 2016 election, particularly for Facebook.

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Twitter and TikTok do not allow any political ads, and Facebook has halted them until after Nov. 3. All three websites have implemented measures to remove or label false or misleading content. Facebook has helped more than 4.4 million people register to vote so far in 2020. Snapchat estimates that it has helped about 400,000 people register, according to Axios.

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