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TikTok Drops A Bombshell On Foreign State Influence

TikTok announced a policy change aimed at curbing the influence of state-affiliated media accounts attempting to exert influence abroad during a crucial election year. The company, which began labeling state-affiliated media two years ago, states that identified accounts attempting to “reach communities outside their home country on current global events and affairs” will no longer appear on the main feed where users watch videos.

Additionally, TikTok revealed that in the coming weeks, state-affiliated media accounts that advertise on the platform will be prohibited from doing so outside of their home country. As The Associated Press reports, this move follows a recent study by the nonprofit Brookings Institution, which found that Russian state-affiliated accounts had boosted their use of the platform and were posting more messages in English and Spanish.

While the spread of foreign propaganda is a concern across various social media platforms, TikTok, owned by Beijing-based ByteDance, has been at the center of a heated political debate. Many federal lawmakers and some administration officials argue that the platform poses a serious national security threat and could potentially operate at the whims of China’s government. However, TikTok has denied these claims and is currently suing the federal government over a new law that would force it to break ties with its parent company to continue operating in the U.S.

In its announcement, TikTok stated that it would release regular updates on its efforts to combat covert influence operations on its platform. The company claims to have disrupted 15 such operations in the first four months of this year, including one that targeted audiences in Indonesia ahead of the country’s presidential elections.

Cecilia Carloni, Interview Manager at Influence Weekly and writer for NetInfluencer. Coming from beautiful Argentina, Ceci has spent years chatting with big names in the influencer world, making friends and learning insider info along the way. When she’s not deep in interviews or writing, she's enjoying life with her two daughters. Ceci’s stories give a peek behind the curtain of influencer life, sharing the real and interesting tales from her many conversations with movers and shakers in the space.

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