New study confirms the search engine on TikTok feeds harmful false information to its young users.

 

According to a study report released on Wednesday, when a TikTok user searches the social media app for information on the top news stories, roughly 20% of the videos given as search results include false material.

This month, researchers at NewsGuard, a journalism and technology platform that monitors online information, searched TikTok and Google for information on important news topics like the 2020 presidential election, the conflict in Russia and Ukraine, and abortion to compare the misinformation presented by their search engines.

“This implies that TikTok’s users are routinely supplied inaccurate and misleading claims for searches on topics ranging from the Russian invasion of Ukraine to school shootings and COVID vaccines,” stated NewsGuard reports, this implies that TikTok’s users are routinely supplied inaccurate and misleading claims for searches on topics ranging from the Russian invasion of Ukraine to school shootings and COVID vaccines.

While the four U.S.-based analysts who participated in this study employed both neutral and more conspiracy-laden search phrases, TikTok frequently suggested contentious terms, according to NewsGuard’s report. When you type “climate change,” the app might advise that you search “climate change doesn’t exist,” and when you search “COVID vaccination,” it might propose that you add the word “exposed” to the end.

“The toxicity of TikTok has become a significant threat because new research from Google suggests that TikTok is increasingly being used by young people as a search engine, as they turn to the video-sharing platform, instead of Google, to find information. In 2021, TikTok surpassed Google as the most popular website worldwide, according to the internet infrastructure company Cloudflare. The Wall Street Journal in August referred to TikTok as the “new Google.” As a headline last month in the trade publication Ad Week put it, “Move Over Google. TikTok the Go-To Search Engine for Gen Z.” Source: NewsGuard

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