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TikTok Sheds Light On Murky World Of Social Media Manipulation Ahead Of 2024 U.S. Election

TikTok released its first report on May 23 detailing efforts to remove covert influence operations from its platform. It highlights campaigns aimed at swaying public opinion and political discourse across multiple countries, including the United States.

The report identifies 15 influence campaigns originating from various nations. One campaign from China, targeting U.S. audiences with 110,161 followers, aimed to promote Chinese policy and cultural narratives. The network utilized fake accounts impersonating high-profile U.S. creators and celebrities to build an audience.

Another network of 65 accounts, with 116,612 followers, amplified pro-Iranian narratives in the U.S. and U.K. before being taken down in February. Initially posing as travel and tourism accounts, they pivoted to political topics like the Hamas-Israel conflict.

TikTok found a sizable Ukrainian influence operation with 2.6 million followers amplifying pro-Ukrainian narratives about the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war using clickbait tactics.

Larger networks influencing discourses in Bangladesh, Venezuela, Indonesia, Ecuador, Serbia, Germany, and Guatemala were also uncovered. TikTok detailed its methodology for defining and detecting covert influence operations.

The report adds to growing concerns over social media manipulation ahead of the 2024 U.S. election and global elections. TikTok faces scrutiny over its Chinese ownership and potential national security risks.

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David Adler is an entrepreneur and freelance blog post writer who enjoys writing about business, entrepreneurship, travel and the influencer marketing space.

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